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Parks and Recreation Master Plan
Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 1 year ago

City offers online parks survey

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Staff plans to develop of community parks and recreation needs in time for a May meeting with the City Commission.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

If you’d like to see more athletic leagues, movie screenings or something called “footgolf” offered in city parks, city staff wants to hear from you.

Those are among the 37 recreational activities the city is asking residents about in an online survey, launched last month and active through Feb. 26. The survey is part of the city’s ongoing development of a parks and recreation master plan.

The city has a multi-pronged approach to gauging what the community wants to get from its parks, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Fogle. Consultant Barth Associates has mailed out a paper questionnaire to 500 households, a scientific survey designed to reach all corners of the city.

The online survey includes 10 questions. In addition to potential programming, the questions ask for information regarding desired amenities and community benefits associated with parks. It also attempts to collect information on how and where residents use city parks.

City staff is also organizing a series of in-person meetings with individual neighborhood associations. Fogle said meetings like these are designed to provide an alternate perspective to the consultant’s survey work.

“While they’re gathering input citywide, we’re going to do it on a smaller scale,” Fogle said.

Later this month, Fogle is scheduled to meet with Bayou Oaks residents. Neighborhood association president Deanie Bergbreiter hopes the master planning process will help create more activity in nearby Water Tower Park.

“The more accessible the park is, the more people use the park, the better it is for our neighborhood,” Bergbreiter said.

By May, parks staff intends to turn the information it has gathered into a ranked list of resident priorities. After that, officials will work with the consultant to discuss how to actually implement — and fund — changes to city parks.

In the meantime, Fogle encouraged residents to reach out with their thoughts about city parks by whatever means they feel most comfortable. Already, he said, he’s seen a high degree of enthusiasm from people who want the city to improve the quality of its parks and recreation offerings.

“We’re very excited,” Fogle said. “It seems like everyone wants to participate.”

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