As Senior Planner for the City of Yuma, I prepared the Parks & Recreation Master Plan, a comprehensive document outlining a 20-year plan for the Parks & Recreation Department. The purpose of the master plan is to provide a framework for translating the community’s needs and desires into a specific strategy for park and recreation development. Download the entire document from the City of Yuma website or flip through it below.
The first step of the master planning process is to identify and organize the stakeholders. Naturally, the key participants were Parks & Recreation administrators and staff. Also essential to the process was involvement from the Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission (PARC); other department administrators; and the general public. As the document developed, I reached out to other parties, such as public service companies with right-of-way jurisdiction over areas targeted as linear parks, in an effort to maximize the breadth of recreation opportunities. I conducted many meetings with Parks staff to understand the goals and challenges of the Department.
The foundation of the document is an inventory of existing facilities, a resource not previously available to Department staff. To build on this solid base of research, I conducted an in-depth analysis of program and facility usage from data collected over the previous year. This analysis represented a level of detail not included in previous planning efforts and proved to be invaluable to understanding the parks system.
To gain feedback and gather input regarding future needs and desires, I wrote and distributed an online public survey. The use data and public input were combined with state and national benchmark data to create a clear assessment of the level of service provided by the parks system. This three-fold approach allowed me to effectively calibrate the population and location service standards to match local demand. For example, I added a new standard for linear parks, based on state averages and in response to local demand. To illustrate the location standards, I created walkability maps using ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator to show the accessibility of each facility. Throughout the plan, I designed maps to illustrate existing conditions and analysis.
Careful consideration of the research and analysis informed the Long Range Vision portion of the plan. I divided the Long Range Vision into two parts: Goals, Objectives, & Policies and Proposed Projects & Initiatives. The Goals, Objectives, & Policies will guide the Department’s decision making over the coming years and are also included in the City’s General Plan. The Proposed Projects & Initiatives section is central to the plan, and serves as a comprehensive collection of all projects proposed over the years. Until this plan, the Department did not have such a list; I organized the disparate plans into one cohesive unit, and organized the information in a way that feeds into the Capital Improvements Program. Coordination of each project allowed me to organize communication between various stakeholders and departments. It also required that I produce conceptual plans for certain projects, such as the rendering shown below.
The final section of the plan provides a guide for implementation. In addition to the typical City funding mechanisms, I gathered information about grant opportunities, partnerships, as well as special taxing districts in an effort to outline all possible sources to foster creative solutions.
Throughout the planning process, I provided monthly update reports and presentations to the PARC, leading to their adoption of the plan. On October 16, I joined the Director of Parks & Recreation, Debbie Wendt, to present the final plan which was adopted by the City Council. Watch the video below; our presentation starts at 61:24.