What are the big ideas for your City of Edmonds parks in next six years?
Acquiring Civic field from the School District and developing it? Establishing an effective ecosystem in the Marsh and daylighting Willow Creek? Developing full size turf multi use fields at Former Woodway High School? Acquiring open space and preserving habitat? Improving walking and bicycling access? Developing a community garden? Continuing to explore a year around pool? Working with the Senior Center to solidify long range plans? All of these and more are goals in the recently approved 2014 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space plan.
The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department has been engaged in a community planning process since June 2013 to update both the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PROS plan) and the Community Cultural Plan ( CCP). Both these plans were recently approved at the City Council meeting on February 25, 2014. This article will highlight the PROS plan.
Edmonds updates its PROS Plan on a six-year cycle, in alignment with the requirements of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to maintain eligibility for federal and state grant programs. The PROS Plan provides comprehensive guidance on the development and management of Edmonds’ parks, recreation and open space system and the services provided by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.
The process for approving the PROS plan was very comprehensive and followed four phases, including a broad community process. The process was guided by MIG, Inc, and a 23-member citizen advisory team.
Beginning in spring 2013, the purpose of Phase 1 was to establish a baseline of information to support the PROS Plan, including a review of the existing conditions in the community and an assessment of the existing park system and recreation services. In Phase 2, the PROS planning team developed an analysis of parks and recreation needs, using analysis criteria drawn from the community involvement process. In addition, the team’s recreation center specialist conducted an assessment of Frances Anderson Center, its use, programming, and needs. Through the analysis and subsequent community involvement, the planning team crafted the parks, recreation and open space system concept, goals and objectives.
In Phase 3, the team then began developing and refining recommendations and a list of recommended projects, prepared prioritization criteria, and evaluated funding options.
In Phase 4, the full draft PROS Plan was released for public review. This adopted PROS Plan was refined with input from the public, staff, and city officials, and approved by City Council.
Some of the common themes in the PROS plan include:
Past planning efforts confirm that Edmonds’ proximity to the water is a valued part of the city’s identity and quality of life, and acquisition and development on the waterfront continues to be emphasized in the PROS plan.
Arts and Culture
Arts and culture are also central to the community’s identity. In addition to the direction provided by the Community Cultural Plan, the Strategic Action Plan describes many actions related to arts and culture in Edmonds, especially around the role of arts and culture in economic development.
Though its downtown is very walkable, greater Edmonds has several characteristics—including steep topography and the presence of major transportation corridors—that create challenges and barriers for pedestrians and cyclists. The PROS plan emphasizes creating improvement of walking and bicycling connections.
Habitat Conservation and Environmental Restoration
As an added component in this plan, it includes policy and planning guidance to protect and enhance natural resources, while encouraging educational interpretation and community stewardship.
In recent years, Edmonds has initiated several efforts to bolster funding for parks and recreation, including the establishment of park impact fees and formation of a task force to explore a Metropolitan Park District and/or a levy to restore parks and recreation services lost to budget cuts. Public feedback from these efforts has emphasized the importance to the community of continued investment in the parks and recreation system.
For more information about the recently approved PROS plan, you can log on to the City’s website and download the plan or contact me at 425-771-0256.
– By Carrie Hite
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director – City of Edmonds