Parks district posts draft comp plan online for public review

South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District has posted a draft of a plan that will guide its direction for the next five years.

As the economy continues to recover from the recession, maintaining the district’s existing facilities remains the top priority in the draft comprehensive plan. However, there might be a bit more financial wiggle room to finish existing projects and pursue new ones.

“Maintaining our current facilities is still our first priority,” Parks Director Doug Coutts said. “We don’t want what we currently have to go away. But, we are looking at grant options for improvements. There will be more grant monies available as the state hopefully continues to move out of the recession.”

The district’s draft comprehensive plan covers its mission and priorities moving forward into the 2018-2023 period. As required by the state grant process, the comprehensive plan lists current and potential projects, as well as equipment needs, by ranking. The plan also gives an update on the current condition of all district properties.

The financial cost required for each project is listed next to each line item. To view the plan, visit http://swparks.org/about/gov ernanceboard-of-commissioners/. Appendix E inclues a ranked list of district priorities.

After maintenance and operations line items comes projects to enhance park properties. Among those include, in order, a restoration of Community Park’s concession building roof, development of an amphitheater stage and possible development of outdoor adult fitness equipment stations. Also included lower on the priority list is the potential acquisitions of properties adjacent to Community Park, should they become available.

These projects would require the district to look at financial options, such as grant monies.

After park property enhancement, development of a camping and RV facility is next in line. This is something the district is currently working on as it waits to see if it’ll score grant money from the state capital budget. If a capital budget passes this year, the district will likely snag close to half a million dollars to put toward the campground project.

Priorities below camping facilities include, in order, field playability enhancement projects, linking the existing trail network on South Whidbey and lake property enhancements.

While projects outside of maintenance and operations require other financial options, Commissioner Mark Helpenstell is confident the increased tax base will give the district a financial boost.

“I think moving forward as the economy improves and things tend to get better on the island generally, that should generate additional funds that will allow us not only to maintain but enhance what we got,” Helpenstell said. “It also hopefully increases our ability to work on some other projects, but maintenance is the priority.”

The deadline to provide input is Oct. 11.

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