Residents will soon have a chance to provide feedback on some major parks and recreation projects.
City Councilors this week received an update on the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department’s $106 million update of the local park system, including information about the plan’s vision, implementation, and a draft list of capital improvement projects.
AECOM Consultant David Barth, who is collaborating with the parks department on the system plan, said Raleigh’s residents rate the park system very highly.
“We are not here today talking about how to fix something,” Barth said. “In the face of this growth that you’re having and in the face of continuing development, how do we maintain this incredibly quality of life in the community as you move forward?”
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director Diane Sauer said recommended projects will fall into four categories, and reflect priorities identified during the public input process as well as through an analysis of park, facilities, greenway, and other infrastructure needs:
- Park and facility improvements
- Cultural site improvements
- Greenway projects
- Land acquisition and development
About 68 percent of the $106 million budget will go toward reinvestment projects. Sauer said this stems from feedback the department has repeatedly received from area residents throughout the process.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane questioned the department’s plans to form partnerships with area schools and cross-departmental teams.
“Is that something you anticipate building going down the road?” McFarlane asked.
Park Planner Cassie Schumacher-Georgopoulos said some of those partnerships already exist and the department plans to expand them and make them more available to the public.
Councilor Russ Stephenson praised the plans and discussed ways to make parks and recreation accessible to the entire community.
“One of the areas that I see happening in other peer, competing cities are urban greenways,” said Stephenson. “That’s more of an experience for a millennial who wants to live in an urban environment but also wants to have that recreational opportunity that doesn’t involve driving out to Umstead Park and back.”
A full draft of the plan will be available for public review beginning on March 17. Department staff will hold a series of public open houses to review the draft System Plan.