Your community maintains its strength by developing a recreational plan with goals and measurable achievements.
Do you have regional parks, community parks, school parks, neighborhood parks and mini-parks? Your community is unique. The level of service you provide to your residents must be tailored to the appropriate range, quantity and quality of recreation facilities within your fiscal limits. Both active and passive opportunities are essential to the development and the maintenance of a strong community. SSM can help you maintain your community strength by working with you to achieve your park and recreation goals. Your park system should work the same way. It is maintained and strengthened by integrating various park sizes and types to meet the specific needs of your community. The key to developing a strong park system is to determine your needs and then develop a plan that provides the appropriate types of recreational opportunities in the right locations.
Are you flexing the right park muscles to meet your community’s fitness plan? A mini-park is used for isolated or limited recreational needs. These are small parks (less than an acre) and are found in a residential setting. These could be found in a subdivision or at a senior center or daycare center. If the community muscle you need to flex focuses on informal active or passive recreation, then a neighborhood park may need to be added to your park system. The neighborhood park covers a larger area, ideally between 5 and 10 acres, serving a specific neighborhood of up to a half mile service area.
Community parks serve a broader purpose than neighborhood parks. These parks are designed to accommodate a variety of activity and community-based recreation needs. They typically are between 25 and 50 acres and serve two or more neighborhoods within a three mile service area.
Regional parks are generally large parks that draw visitors from a region or several communities that can be an hour or more away. These parks sometimes have historic significance or a unique attribute that make them special and often have a commercial component as well.
CHALLENGE: A municipality needs help to determine what type and size of park would meet their community’s needs.
SOLUTION: SSM assisted in determining their needs and then developed a comprehensive approach to develop a series of parks. The size of the municipality warranted two large regional parks and several smaller neighborhood parks. The regional park needed to be centrally located to provide all residents equal access. It was determined that two different types of regional parks, a passive and an active park, would be the best fit.
- The passive regional park was composed of trails, open space, learning areas, and tranquil resting areas. The park was designed to provide opportunities for exploring, with many options to keep the experience fresh and within the capabilities of a variety of age groups and genders.
- The second regional park was developed to provide space for active recreation and was composed of ball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, Frisbee golf and buildings for youth organizations. The active park was also sensitive to the various needs of the community.
- In addition, it was determined that four smaller neighborhood parks were needed, based on concentrations of housing.
- Each neighborhood park was unique.
- One was located near an over 55 community; it resembled a lush garden with benches across from each other to encourage communication. The plant species were selected to provide interest throughout the seasons.
- The other parks were located in neighborhoods with many active children. Each of these parks included a playground with a different theme, benches for parents to sit and watch their children and walking paths.