“The people who show up, get to make the decisions.” That is a quote that rings true across many aspects of life, including the development of the U.P. Parks, Recreations, and Open Space (PROS) plan which is well underway. And, have U.P. citizens (and a few beyond) shown up!
With two open houses completed and the first public survey drawing to close, we are inspired by all the thoughts, ideas, needs, and wishes shared so far. To date, almost 900 people have taken the first survey from every neighborhood across the city. Almost half of the survey takers visit a U.P. park(s) weekly with another quarter visiting monthly. There is also a high number of citizens that travel outside of the city to visit other park spaces but, considering that Chambers Creek Regional Park is often mistaken as a U.P. park, that number is not too surprising.
Survey results indicate desired physical improvements to City parks include more or better amenities such as restrooms, picnic shelters, shade structures, better lighting, bike racks, and a community center or a facility where indoor activities can be supported. More sports courts, non-motorized trails, and access to undeveloped natural areas also had a strong showing from the community.
As we finalize the survey results and compare them against emerging national trends, we are also preparing a new tool that will allow everyone to help “program” all the potential improvements desired. Called Maptionnaire, it is an online map-based tool that will allow users to help “co-design” project areas and express their preference and opinions. With this tool, you will be able to zoom into any of the U.P. parks, click on an icon (such as a restroom, sports court, or picnic shelter), then drop that element into that park. Another example would be drawing a new trail connection or an outline for a new community center. All of these results will be used to help define the specific projects to be included in the next PROS plan along with a range of possibilities, e.g. Washington State Outdoor Recreation grants, to pay for them.
Our next survey called Maptionnaire is ready to capture your ideas and voice! Find it at app.maptionnaire.com/en/7645/.
If you have nay questions, please do not hesitate to contact either David Swindale at 253.460.2519 or Chris Overdorf at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of your Park Advisory Commission members.