Parks & Recreation Master Plan

Letter from Dick Horton Consulting Regarding the Master Plan Process

Welcome to the Parks and Recreation master planning process! On behalf of the entire consultant team, I am pleased that my firm, Dick Horton Consulting, was selected to work with the park and recreation staff and citizens of the Salina community to interpret your preferences for the type of system that you would like to have in the future.

To interpret your preferences that will lead to very specific recommendations for future planned improvements, I have worked with staff to develop an approach that is unique for Salina but organized and respectful of important community planning fundamentals that are necessary to develop a plan with very high integrity.

I will speak briefly below about those planning fundamentals to introduce you to the process and the expected outcomes from each.

Citizen Engagement

Numerous opportunities will be provided to encourage a participatory process for those who would like to be involved.

  • Key stakeholder interviews to learn about key issues facing the community and its park system. Key issues will be used by the consultant team to develop a statistically valid citizen survey instrument.
  • Statistically valid citizen survey – A statistically valid citizen survey instrument will be distributed by mail to approximately 2,000 randomly selected households. The survey instrument that will be developed from the key issues provided by key stakeholders will result in responses that provide a 95% level of confidence at a precision of +/- 4%.
  • Focus Groups and Public Meetings will be held when the survey results are available. Survey results will be shared in these meetings to allow those present to not only ask questions but also to determine how those results match their own individual preferences.

Demographics and Lifestyle Foundation Analysis

We know in community planning that age, gender, ethnicity, income, education and how we choose to work and play are key data that is rolled up into our community profile. The consultant will collect all available data for the city of Salina and segment it into six planning areas and 15 neighborhoods. We want to customize all planned improvement recommendations in a manner that they make sense for these areas so that citizens will be more likely to use them.

Park System Assessment

The consultant will evaluate all existing parks and facilities to determine their condition and future opportunities that are aligned with citizen preferences.

Benchmarking

The consultant will utilize several national benchmarks to determine how the Salina system compares. Typical benchmarking data includes the acreage, facilities and investment, and access to the system.  

Land Dedication Ordinance

As growth occurs in the community, that growth typically results in the demand for new parks and amenities. Developers are asked to pass this cost along to the new residents and there is an existing city ordinance for this purpose. The consultant will evaluate the existing ordinance to determine if it is current with the costs that are required to acquire and develop a park property. 

Financial Analysis

  • Fee Structure Analysis - The Department of Parks and Recreation routinely charges fees for many of its services. The consultant will determine if the process used to determine the level of fees that are charged is consistent with its costs.
  • Budget Analysis – The consultant will analyze the budget of the Park and Recreation Department to determine if there is a gap between its responsibilities and the resources that are available.
  • Revenue Sources – As the consultant analyzes the Department’s budget, it will have an eye on additional funding sources that may be available to close any gaps that may exist.

Connectivity/Trails

Citizen support for connectivity throughout the community and its park system is understood. The consultant will review existing trail planning documents to ensure that the new Smokey River Development Plan offers connections to the existing Bike Plan.

Land Acquisition

As the consultant reviews existing locations of parks and facilities and evaluates by geographics those areas where there is not equitable access to the park system, recommendations will be made to acquire land in those areas.

Conceptual Master Plans

The consultant will develop conceptual plans for four key parks which include: Thomas Park, Indian Rock Park, Bill Burke Park and ECRA Park. The conceptual plans will result in an idea of how the community can move forward with new funding for these parks if that is their preference.

Final Master Plan

The consultant will be exited to share with the community its interpretation and recommendations for their park system master plan. Because the planning process will be participatory, the consultant expects the final master plan report to be a celebration for the community.