Community called to discuss local parks

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — The city of Piqua, in conjunction with Pros Consulting, will hold a community engagment session Thursday evening to better understand the community’s concerns about the park system.

In August, the Piqua City Commission also authorized an agreement with Pros Consulting Inc. to prepare a Comprehensive Parks Master Plan, which will help as a guide for improvements to the parks, as well as help with programming and services. It was approved at a cost of $74,940 to be funded through the city’s Parks Fund.

City Planner Chris Schmiesing explained that the Parks Master Plan began with the Comprehensive Plan Update in 2007 in which the community identified the park system as a focus area. Schmiesing said that he is not aware of a master plan ever being done for the parks in the city’s recent history.

“It really pulls together the thoughts and ideas and needs and interests into a coehsive document,” Schmiesing said about the Parks Master Plan. From there, the city can then identify different priorities for city parks and which priorities are more desirable for the community to see come to fruition.

Creating the master plan, as well as engaging with residents, will alllow the city to take a step back and see where the parks are filling needs and where they need to implement improvements.

“It becomes a tool that is utilized by city staff,” Schmiesing said.

City employees will be able to use the master plan during day-to-day operations while maintaining the local parks. The city can also use it to help apply for grants for improvement projects for the parks.

“It’s important to realize that this is a comprehensive look-see at our park system at not only what we have currently, but also looking at maybe what we don’t have,” Schmiesing said.

Community members can attend the meeting being held from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the dining hall at Fountain Park, 1300 Forest Ave., to voice opinions about what they think about the parks, new amenities that the parks might need, any open lots or neighborhoods that could use a park, and even any parks that might need to be relocated or decommissioned.

Residents living near any of the former school sites, such as where Bennett Intermediate was located, should also consider attending, as those sites will be a topic of conversation.

“We’ll be looking at the vacated school sites to see how that relates to the conversation,” Schmiesing said.

This community engagement meeting comes at the beginning of the nine-month planning process for this project, which will also include stakeholder and other community input meetings. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in this project. The Parks Master Plan will guide the revitalization and enhancement of the city’s public park system amenities and recreation opportunities for years to come.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336