Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 19, 2013

Public can have its say on five-year master parks plan

By JOHN KLINE john.kline@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Goshen Parks and Recreation officials are in the process of updating the department’s Five-Year Master Plan, and they’re enlisting the help of the public to do it.

As part of that effort, the department has scheduled what will likely be the first of several Five-Year Master Plan public input meetings for this Monday at the Rieth Interpretive Center.

“The master plan will cover the years 2014 to 2018, and what it does for our department is it provides us with an action plan for the next five years,” said Tanya Heyde, recreation supervisor for the department. “So it looks at needs, any issues that we may need to address, priorities, preventative maintenance programs... It’s a pretty comprehensive plan.”

Set to begin at 6 p.m., the goal of the public meeting is to receive comments, concerns and ideas from the community with regard to the future operations of the Parks and Recreation Department over the next five years.

“We want the community to be a part of our planning in the years to come,” Heyde said. “As part of this process, SiteScapes Inc. of Mishawaka will be assisting us with our five-year plan, and a representative from SiteScapes will be here for the meeting. I know he will have some questions outlined for feedback from the public, and also will give them the option to expand on the public survey that we’ve put together regarding the five year plan.”

According to Heyde, the public survey was specifically created to gather information from area residents in an effort to learn more about the recreational interests of the community and to provide an opportunity to express opinions concerning the programs, activities and the quality of the parks within the city.

Available as a hard copy through the Parks and Recreation Department, the survey may also be taken online by following the link on the city website at www.goshenindiana.org.

“The survey is about 16 questions long, most of them being multiple choice, and then we also provide some space for comments should the answer they’re looking for not be there,” Heyde said. “Some of the questions involve things like how people are currently informed about our programs, what their interests are, etc.”

Heyde noted that one of the main questions the department will be looking at on the survey is whether or not the community feels the city’s parks should be smoke free.

“Then we’re also asking about some more general things such as trail connections and how interested our community is in more of them, and if so where that might be, etc,” Heyde said. “So it’s really a lot about who we are and what we do, and how we’re interested in continuing to serve our community in the future.”

For those unable to attend Monday’s meeting, Heyde noted that the department is currently planning to hold at least another two meetings within the next three to six months during which the community will be able to weigh in on the progress of the master plan update.

“After Monday’s meeting we will probably have at least two more meetings to discuss the draft of the plan,” Heyde said, “and according to our schedule, it appears those will likely take place in mid-December and then again in February.”