Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Chelan adopts Parks and Recreation open space plan

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CHELAN – The city council adopted its expansive Parks & Recreation Open Space (PROS) Plan at its regular bi-monthly meeting on May 28, after a brief introduction by Parks and Red Director Paul Horne. 

“We had over 2,000 interactions with the public,” said Horne. “They said parks are important to them, and they want to see improvements in our system.”

Council member Tim Hollingsworth asked what Horne and his team learned from the survey that was new and useful. Horne answered that restrooms, trails, and an outdoor amphitheater ranked high on the public wish list.

  • Trails

Horne said the public wants more real trails with ADA access.

“We have an elderly population, more elderly here than the rest of the state and the rest of the nation,” said Horne “We don’t really have a promenade for good trails where you can actually get down and enjoy this resource, the lake, that is really our number one draw.”

  • Restrooms

“We need clean, modern restrooms,” said Horne “Maintenance does a great job keeping the grass cut and the trash cleaned up, but there is only so much you can do with a 50-year-old restroom”.

  • Outdoor Amphitheater
  • Upgrades  

“We have $20-some million of deferred maintenance that we need to address,” said Horne. “We have an organized, strategic approach to getting the bones of your park in place so that 100 years from now, those bones are still going to be solid, and things are still in the right place.”

Council’s adoption of the plan makes the city eligible for Recreation and Conservation (RCO) grants in this year’s grant cycle. Horne said the plan must be renewed every six years to remain eligible for RCO grants, but it is not designed to sit on a shelf or provide a checkmark just to be grant-eligible. It is designed to provide a roadmap for the city’s park system to reach its full potential through a vision solidly grounded in reality.

Plan chapters

The 300-page plan is long and packed with information:

Chapter 1 provides a framework for the plan.

Chapter 2 looks at the Chelan community, its demographics, history, and culture.

The next four chapters provide a summary of existing conditions from the following perspectives: 

Chapter 3 reviews plans relevant to the PROS, in particular city adopted plans. 

Chapter 4 provides a Park System Existing Conditions and Needs Assessment, including community input.

Chapter 5 explores Existing Conditions and Needs Assessment for Recreation Programming. 

Chapter 6 covers a departmental review: operations, financial performance, and staffing. 

Chapter 7 synthesizes needs into a mission and strategy supported by respective goals, objectives, and policies. 

Chapter 8 prioritizes implementation with short, medium, and long-term road map, and adds recommendations. In each step, a first set of analyses has been performed that may need to be complemented by additional analyses as the Parks and Recreation Master Plan is adopted and enters a second phase of implementation.

“We really need to workshop it and go through it chapter by chapter,” Horne said.

Horne said a renewal of the PROS Plan every six years is necessary for the city to remain eligible for (RCO) grants, a major funding source for park capital projects. 

Background

On June 27, 2023, the council approved the SCJ Alliance Professional Services Agreement for the Parks & Recreation System Master Plan Project. On July 11, 2023, the council reviewed the PROS Plan survey questions. Administrative reports in 2024 were provided on Feb. 27, April 9, April 23, May 7, and May 14.

A digital version of the PROS Plan is available on the Parks Planning website at cityofchelan.us/266/Parks-Planning.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or michael@ward.media

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