The updated plan intends to improve parks and recreational facilities, such as baseball fields. Madeline Coats/staff photo

The updated plan intends to improve parks and recreational facilities, such as baseball fields. Madeline Coats/staff photo

Kenmore residents seek restoration for parks and recreation facilities

The park, recreation and open space plan will be updated for the first time since 2013.

The park, recreation and open space (PROS) plan will be updated in Kenmore for the first time since 2013.

Council unanimously adopted the proposal on Nov. 25, 2013 as a component of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. It was decided that the plan would be updated every five to six years to remain current and reflect changes within the community.

“The process takes about a year and involves public engagement and Planning Commission review with a recommendation to council,” said communications specialist Becky Range. “Council action on amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and adoption of the PROS plan is expected next year.”

The now six-year-old plan was created to represent the community’s vision for parks and recreation through the year 2035. The purpose of the PROS plan is to guide the development of various park facilities, while implementing resident recommendations.

Responses from local residents have been collected through surveys and meetings to generate goals and policy actions for the updated PROS plan. The city’s service vision and mission is “Propelling Kenmore Upward — We create a thriving community where people love where they live.”

Goals to achieve with the revised plan include improved waterfront access, safer walking routes and a more financially sustainable system for parks and recreation. Additionally, the updates aim to create higher community engagement with decisions and activities in the city, while providing equitable opportunities for more inclusive and affordable programs and events.

According to the draft of goals, objectives and policies for the plan, the city’s natural environment is the “principal condition” of Kenmore’s PROS plan. A system of interconnected wildlife habitats and waterways are to be better protected by this amended version of the document.

Kenmore residents aim to protect the environment by restoring habitats and educating the public. Other key values include finding potential partners to help fund parks, creating balance to adhere to diversity and instilling civic pride in public spaces.

One obstacle is the desire to secure assets for future generations to visit parks and recreation facilities. Residents find it important to repair and replace aspects of recreation, as well as maintain and restore natural park attractions.

“It’s important for us to understand if our community needs or interests have significantly changed since the last update,” said Range.

Between 2015 and 2019, various public outreach efforts and condition assessments were conducted, including multiple opinion surveys to gauge community interest. Results from the collective efforts revealed obstacles to overcome in order to improve the parks and recreation system.

“One of the first steps in the process is completing a community survey, which we did this spring,” said Range. “This first mailed survey is part of a statistically valid survey process and was mailed to a random sampling of homes throughout all areas of our city.”

According to the final report findings from the city’s parks and recreation survey, 93 percent of respondent households indicated they have visited city parks and recreation facilities in the past 12 months. The survey found that restrooms, walking paths and parking were the three most important park features to respondents and their households.

In additional to the mailed survey, there will be public city meetings and open houses to discuss community responses. Range explained that the Planning Commission has already met several times to discuss the PROS plan thus far.

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