Summer is park season and what better time to start a parks master plan than a time when everybody is thinking of visiting a park? The Dallas Parks Master Plan is an exciting project that allowed one of our Community Planning Workshop (CPW) team not only to visit Dallas’ parks, but also to engage the Dallas community in a variety of ways.
The Dallas Parks and Recreation Master Plan is an initiative of The City of Dallas, Oregon, that seeks to improve its parks system. Parks are a great asset for the economy, environment, and social well being of a city, and the purpose of the Master Plan is to guide the development of the local parks and recreation facilities, and provide goals, policies, and recommendations not only to enhance them, but also to satisfy the Dallas community’s recreational needs.
This summer, the CPW team, with the support of the City of Dallas, started the parks and recreational needs assessment to identify the community’s recreational needs and parks’ improvement opportunities. To gather that information the team developed a website, a household survey, stakeholder interviews, a community profile, a park inventory, and held two community workshops.
This process has had great community participation. The CPW team interviewed eighteen individuals, including the Mayor, the Parks Supervisor, all seven members of the Parks Advisory Board, and all nine members of the City Council. Furthermore, the team held a community workshop during the Dallas Summerfest, 53 people were surveyed and approximately 100 people engaged in fun activities at the courthouse booth. In a second workshop held at the Kingsborough Park, approximately 50 people participated in exercises to guide the park’s design. Additionally, almost 1,600 hundred people have visited the Dallas Parks Master Plan website.
The team obtained valuable information from those community activities which will serve to determine the goals, policies, and recommendations for the park system. The main findings from the parks and recreational needs assessment are:
- The Dallas community wants family-friendly and inclusive parks with activities and a welcoming environment for a wide range of people including kids, teenagers, adults, seniors, disabled people, and others.
- The Dallas community is fairly satisfied with its park system, although it would like to have more facilities and a wider variety of activities to do at the parks:
- People want water features and splash areas, playground areas, biking and walking trails, a skate park, BMX tracks, and basketball courts.
- People have a big need for more facilities that enhance the park experience such as restrooms, covered areas, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and benches.
- The Dallas community wants natural environment-oriented parks. Residents really enjoy having access to the creek. They value and would like to see improvement in the Japanese garden and the arboretum. In addition, they would like to have more trees and shaded areas.
- The Dallas community is primarily familiar with the Dallas City Park, and not with the City’s other parks. This opens an opportunity to promote these parks and develop activities that encourage people to visit them.
The summer has ended, school is back in session, and the CPW team is waiting to get back the household survey to complete the needs assessment. The next step is to develop the vision, goals, policies, and recommendations for the Dallas’ park system.
Thanks Dallas community for your great participation in this process!