Edmond to build long-term parks plan

Monday, July 25, 2011

by Mark Schlachtenhaufen


Monday evening, the City Council approved a $120,754 supplemental appropriation from the park tax reserve and an agreement with Jacobs Engineering of Oklahoma City to provide a specific scope of work in order to provide a park and recreation master plan for the City of Edmond. A portion of the expense was budgeted last year.

Bowlin said park and recreational activities promote a quality of life that is highly visible in any city. To grow and compete with other cities of like size, Edmond will evaluate its present park system and look ahead to make it better through the completion of a new and updated master plan, Bowlin said. The last such city-wide master plan for parks was completed in 1979.

ďA master plan will help Edmond map the future of its parks and leisure time activities,Ē Bowlin said.

Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said the city will focus on input from its citizens and organizations in assessing specific recreational needs and issues.

The first phase of the consultantís task will include obtaining and utilizing information about the city as a database for preparation of a computer-generated map, according to information from the city. It will illustrate things such as streets, buildings, park sites, school sites, topography, creeks and streams and vegetation.

Jacobs Engineering representatives will meet with city staff to outline the project, discuss the schedule and the joint Jacobs-city effort. It will include an open discussion addressing the overall goals and objects for the master plan. Jacobs will aid the city in identifying potential membership and interest groups that could or should serve on an advisory committee.

Commons said the process also will involve using information from focus groups and a citizen survey. It is anticipated the groups would include representatives from area youth, senior citizens, youth sports associations, adult sports associations, neighborhood associations, private recreation providers and selected citizens.

Jacobs Engineering will prepare and conduct a city-wide telephone survey of the community. It will examine participation in recreational activities as well as assess recreational needs and funding options.

Additionally, the process will include public meetings and advisory committee meetings. Jacobs Engineering will conduct three advertised public meetings for the cityís entire geographic area to obtain citizen input and priorities for the parks and recreation facilities.

Also, Jacobs Engineering will analyze Edmondís demographic makeup, concentrating on growth, distribution and projected changes, and age, income, gender, education, ethnicity and projected changes.

Bowlin said the process will include assessing and recommending current and future parks and recreational needs based on public input, established standards and existing resources.

Jacobs Engineering will prepare an action plan to establish a definitive direction for parks and recreation throughout the city. Other tasks will include preparing a summary of expenditure analysis with a cost estimate based upon action plan recommendations, and drafting the master plan.

Jacobs Engineering was selected from a field of 13 qualified firms by the Edmond Parks and Recreation Board after interviews were conducted with the top four firms. The work will begin immediately, and will take about 12 months to complete, according to information from the city.