Making plans for city parksRehabilitate downtown’s Center City Park – check. Resurface the tennis courts at Veterans Memorial Park – done.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Rehabilitate downtown’s Center City Park – check.
Resurface the tennis courts at Veterans Memorial Park – done.
Install a new skate shelter at the Pattison area skating rink – check.
Build a skate park in Heritage Park – done.
With about 80 percent of the city’s Master Park Plan complete – but for the loftiest of its goals – the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission is looking to the future and setting the stage for new priorities in developing the park system.
Next week, the commission makes plans for gathering information and developing a new Master Park Plan to guide development of the city’s park system for years to come.
“I am hoping we can gather data from the public between now and June 1,” said Mary Morgan. She said the goal is to have the city’s consultant draft plans for review by the Parks and Recreation Commission next summer and council review between the fall and year’s end.
Public input has shaped the city’s last two master plans, and was a strong element in planning the work at Center City Park and the Arrowhead Pier, a project that could be complete by next summer after the city revamped its bids to address the marine and land components of the project. Bids are opened in early February to be presented to the council Feb. 16.
“We’re hoping to begin the work as soon as thaw,” Morgan said, with a goal to have the project done by July. The marine work is the top priority. That would complete another component of the city’s existing park plan.
Morgan said some ideas already have cropped up, spurring discussion, such as building a park for disc golf. Unlike traditional golf, played with balls and clubs, players use a flying disc such as a Frisbee. Formalized in the 1970s, the object is to get the disc into elevated metal basket in the fewest number of throws. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, and as a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed.
Other ideas that have cropped up in recent years include creating a dog park, but Morgan said the community’s priorities would shape the plan ultimately.
After all, when teens expressed support for the idea of building a skate park in 1999 and 2000, it became part of the 2001 plan. The city’s youth helped make the skate park at Heritage Park a reality through design and fundraising for the project.
The plan adopted by the council in 2001 included countless hours of public discussion, surveys and focus groups in developing the plan.
Whether that’s new trails, improved maintenance, improvements to Billings Park or some of the new trends proposed in recent years, Morgan said, the park commission is very interested in hearing what the public would like to see.
Central Park could already benefit from additional lighting to be included in the next plan. Last month, the Parks Commission approved including the proposal from Councilor Ed Anderson in the new plan.
The planning includes developing a conceptual design for Billings Park and updating the 1995 Municipal Forest Plan where facilities are concerned. While the plan includes creation of an environmental learning center, a goal that has been met in small ways, but remains among the loftier goals in the 2001 Master Park Plan.
The question the commission will be asking is what the community wants to see in its parks next.
Next week, the commission meets with the consultant to brainstorm ways to get the public’s input for the plan. Meetings will be set then to discuss a variety of issues about the park system and the direction the community wants to take with its park system.
“In recent years, we got a very good idea of what we should do with the Arrowhead Pier because we had really good public input – the same for Center City Park, frankly,” Morgan said.