Parks, recreation master plan under review

Published 3:09 am Thursday, January 31, 2008

By Staff
Mayor, council members have concerns with data included in draft document
Contributing Editor
Washington officials are reviewing the final draft of the city’s proposed parks and recreation master plan, with some expectations they will revise some information in it.
City Council members and others received copies of the draft, prepared by Hayes, Seay, Mattern and Mattern, the consulting firm hired to develop the recreation master plan. Mayor Judy Meier Jennette and some council members expressed concerns the draft plan did not take into account people in areas outside the city limits who use the city’s park and recreation facilities. They are worried the draft plan, to some degree, focuses more on people in the city.
Councilman Gil Hodges said the city’s parks and recreation facilities serve a population of about 40,000 people within a 5-mile radius of the city. Jennette said the draft plan must take into account there are more people who use the city’s parks and recreation facilities than just the nearly 10,000 residents in the city. People who live outside the city limits and use the city’s parks and recreation facilities must be included when it comes to determining demand on those facilities now and in the future. They also must be included when it comes to paying their share of the costs to provide them with parks and recreations facilities and programs, Jennette said.
The mayor and council indicated they may tweak the draft so it better reflects the number of people the city’s parks and recreation facilities serve and how the demand of users from outside the city affect those facilities.
Phil Mobley, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said he understands the mayor and council members’ concerns, he expressed confidence in the draft plan and its recommendations and conclusions.
Mobley also said a key component of the draft plan is its section on unmet needs. Unmet needs, for the most part, is a term for facilities, equipment and programs the Parks and Recreation Department needs to fulfill its mission. The draft plan also includes a timeline for implementing its recommendations. The draft plan also shows how the city measures up to national and state parks-and-recreation standards.
The draft plan notes that unmet needs identified by the public include a park in the western area of the city, tennis courts, more boat mooring areas, more playgrounds for young children and more seating along the waterfront. Unmet needs identified by the Parks and Recreation Department include a park in the western area of the city, a park in the northern area of the city and a permanent dock master’s office and restrooms to replace temporary facilities in place since 2002.
For details concerning the draft plan, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.