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MEEKER I Consultants from GreenPlay, LLC, who were retained by the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Park and Recreation District’s board of directors to facilitate development of strategic planning, presented a first draft of the strategic plan for future development.
A PowerPoint summary of the draft recreation, parks and trails master plan was presented by GreenPlay consultants Anne Miller and Chris Dropinski, along with sub-consultant Shanen Weber from Design Concepts, at a public meeting at the Meeker Recreation Center July 26 to Meeker residents, members of the board and administrative staff. The proposal was prepared on the basis of interest surveys of local residents which were distributed and compiled earlier this year. Focus groups of local residents from various interest areas such as health care providers, youth groups, senior citizens, arts and cultural organizations, et al, were interviewed and provided their suggestions, preferences and input after the surveys were compiled and results were initially presented in late spring.
The second phase of the project survey and input process revealed interest in development and enhancement of local parks and accessible walking and biking trails in and around Meeker.
A first phase of renovation for the City Park, Circle Park and the playground area near Fourth and Water Street was presented with proposed improvements and features, including upgraded volleyball and basketball courts, as well as landscaping, possible lighting improvements and creation of a river walk path. The venue also adjoins the RV and trailer park camping area. This proposal will be the first approved project to be implemented in the near future. Other trail projects include the Phillip and Dorcas Jensen Memorial Park located north of Sixth Street and through the China Wall foothills to the north, and includes safe and pleasant hiking trails and challenging mountain biking trails as well.
Additional parks and trails upgrades and development are being designed for the Sage Hills area, and the Paintbrush Park venue.
More long term renovations and expansions that were supported in the surveys include additions to the existing recreation center and may eventually include an indoor gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and an elevated walking and running indoor track suitable for year-round use.
The presentation included recommendations in four categories: parks and trails, recreation programs, communications and community engagement, and management. The meeting was attended by nine residents.
The following is a summary of public comments and discussion notes:
n Ensure electricity to the town park site and proper lighting (use dark sky lighting), provide lighting for the basketball court
n Provide for appropriate waste receptacles
n Inclusion of arts and culture programs and services was expressed as important as well as interest in partnerships to promote and expand
n Consider completing a tree inventory and labels on different tree types to help educate the public about trees
n Trails support was expressed for a connected trail loop through Meeker; there was a request to look at locating a trail along the ridge to the north of the Meeker Recreation Center
n Support was expressed for recommendation to promote intergovernmental partnerships; continue to solicit in-kind labor/contributions
n Some expressed interest in a potential stand-alone aquatics facility to accommodate competitive swimming events to help bring visitors and generate revenue and economic benefits; school partnerships could be explored
n Improvements to the existing aquatics facility to accommodate smaller swim meets was supported (potential additional room adjacent to pool for events, rentals, etc.)
Greenplay consultants also identified the importance of communications and community input. This would serve to raise awareness of district services through proactive communication and community engagement efforts to enhance marketing, generate annual reports, develop and implement a signage plan, engage community planning efforts through public meetings and creating a teen council.
Management was emphasized as a district goal to ensure quality services and efficient use of resources such as maintaining ADA standards and guidelines; keeping inventory and the master plan updated; enhancing business practices including a business plan and registration tracking; implementing environmentally sensitive practices; track and manage costs to deliver services; expand partnerships such as joint-use partnership agreements with the school district; continue intergovernmental partnerships with the town, county, BLM, et al; establish public and private partnerships; expand use of alternative funding through sponsorships, use of volunteers, soliciting grants and donations; expand revenue generation opportunities through concessions at major facilities and encouraging rentals.
A final draft of the strategic plan will be provided to the district in September.
For more information, please contact the Meeker Recreation Center at 878-3403.