Plain City officials are working to review a proposed Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Goals of the plan include acquiring more park land and updating current parks and facilities, including Pastime Park, pictured above. Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said council will continue to review the plan over the next several months. (Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
The Village of Plain City is reviewing a proposed Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
During Monday’s Village Council meeting, officials heard from Leon Younger and Brayton McClure of PROS Consulting regarding a proposed master plan.
McClure said the consulting firm began working with Plain City in April 2019 and has spent approximately 10 months developing the plan.
Parks and Recreation Director Linda Granger said the plan is 121 pages.
She said each parks and recreation committee member has received a copy of the plan and will work together to review it at upcoming committee meetings.
“It’s a lot to digest, but it’s great information,” Granger said.
The consultants gave council an overview of the plan, broken down into three major steps.
McClure said PROS Consulting analyzed where Plain City is today, where they want to be tomorrow and how to get there.
To evaluate the present situation, he said consultants used various program assessments and created maps of the current parks.
He explained that community input has been used as a guideline to develop a plan for how the Village would like to move forward.
McClure said consultants solicited feedback through focus groups and a survey, which over 500 Plain City residents responded to.
From that point, PROS Consultants were able to develop goals and strategic plans.
Younger said the plan includes several “big moves” the Village can focus on.
The major items include: creating a connected trail system and a new community park; developing two new, neighborhood parks; enhancing existing facilities; seeking a dedicated funding source for land acquisition; determining funding for parks and recreation programming and improving current infrastructure.
Each of the “big moves” was divided into key recommendations, including a goal and several strategies to accomplish it.
In reference to an interconnected parks and trails system, Younger recommended Plain City aim to have 10 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents, within the next 10 years. He said this ratio is comparable to similar Midwestern cities.
Younger also emphasized updating existing Village facilities, including the Aquatic Center, campgrounds and the Youth Building. He said enhancing current facilities would draw more residents to recreational programs.
Aside from improving land and facilities, Younger said improving programming is an important aspect of the master plan.
He said the Village should strive to develop a comprehensive schedule of parks and recreation programs that attract all residents, from school-age children to seniors.
In order to do so, Younger set improved marketing and communication as a goal.
He encouraged Plain City to develop an online registration platform for residents to sign up for parks and recreation programs online. He said this should be done with the goal of attracting more residents to events offered by the Village.
Younger also recommended Plain City create either a volunteer or intern position to manage parks and recreation communication efforts.
Along with a communication position, Younger advised the Village to hire and retain additional parks and recreation staff.
Currently, Granger is the only paid Village employee within the Parks and Recreation Department.
Each of the key recommendations presented by the consulting firm is predicated on the finances goal.
Younger said Plain City needs to seek a dedicated funding source that would support parks and recreation for the next 10 years.
Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said the proposed plan provides a framework to move forward, but will take time to review.
“This maps out the direction we want to strive to get to over the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.
The plan will likely be discussed further at a council work session within the next few months, according to Cahall.
In other business:
– Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will change the meeting time of Plain City Council from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Once the time change is effective, council will continue to meet on the second fourth Mondays of the month.
– Council heard an update from Cahall regarding funding for the Gay Street improvement project.
He said the Village is “on track” to receive funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission in early July, as expected.
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