City releases draft of Parks Master Plan


Plan available for public comment

By Sam Wildow - swildow@dailycall.com



PIQUA — The city of of Piqua Development Department recently released a draft of the Parks Master Plan, which is currently available on the city’s website for public comment.

“The Parks Master Plan provides us a tool that helps to guide or provide the framework for responding to citizens’ needs and expectations as it relates to public parks,” City Planner Chris Schmiesing said.

The document looks at community members’ priorities for the city’s 18 park grounds. The plan will act as a guide for maintaining and improving the city’s park system.

“Each of the park locations are highlighted,” Schmiesing said. “There’s an assessment of the existing conditions and recommendations for some short-term, medium-term, and long-term improvement.”

The plan was prepared by Pros Consulting at a cost of $74,940. Preparing the document took a little less than a year and included various forms of research and receiving community input.

“It is a process to do a master plan successfully,” Schmiesing said. Schmiesing explained, when putting the plan together, that Pros Consulting took in consideration local demographics, needs assessments, and national trends in addition to engaging the public through stakeholders meetings, public forums, and surveys.

“All those different means of getting input from citizens has to take place,” Schmiesing said.

The plan then put all of that input into a coherent thought.

“It does it in such a way that gives you recommendations,” Schmiesing said. “It also talks about the financial strategies.”

The plan recommends types of upgrades available and possible visionary projects while also providing suggests as how to fund the improvements and upkeep.

“It’s a guide. It’s a framework for how we can best respond to the citizens’ interests with the resources that are available to do that,” Schmiesing said. “I think the overarching message was repair and maintain what we have and keep it up to a high standards and look at how we can enhance our park system to maintain the expectation of the quality of life we have in our community.”

The plan notes that the three most important facilities to residents, whether to maintain or to create, were walking and biking trails, a possible nature center and trails, and a possible off-leash dog park, according to a survey. After those three types of park spaces, these other facilities were rated as high priorities for investment: multi-generational recreation center, indoor running/walking track, outdoor swimming pools/water parks, green space and natural areas, and indoor fitness and exercise facilities.

Included in the plan’s recommendations for the city’s parks are locations that would be suitable for a possible dog park. The city’s only dog park at Hollow Park was closed earlier this year due to not meeting accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The former no-leash dog park was only open on weekends, though, and was not fenced.

Suggestions for a possible dog park are found throughout the document with the main suggestion from Pros Consulting being possibly adding a dog park somewhere along McKinley Avenue at the Pitsenbarger Sports Complex. Suggestions from the public in regards where to add a dog park included potentially leasing the Army Corps open space field for a dog park as it has 10 acres of flat land, at the former Wilder school site, the area across from Piqua Materials,

A community member also suggested the former Nicklin school site as a location for a possible dog park, but that location is currently being use a school yard garden for local fifth grader students.

While there are a number of suggestions for dog parks, there are no imminent plans to create one.

Other visionary ideas include:

• Creating a new, approximately 10,000-square-foot nature center

• Upgrading the trail system by adding or updating 2 miles of trail per year for 10 years with a focus on developing loop trails and trail connections

• Developing the riverfront park and downtown amenities

• Developing a community park on the west side of the Pitsenbarger Sports Complex over a 10-year period in collaboration with the school district

• Developing a new, multi-generational community centers in partnership with the YMCA, local hospitals, and educational institutions, such the city’s current goal for a Community Center Campus

• Improving the athletic fields over the next 20 years at Pitsenbarger Sports Complex

• Acquiring land and building a new mini-park at Shawnee Park

The plan also includes information on which parks are the most frequented. A survey found that Fountain Park, Lock Nine Riverfront Park, Pitsenbarger Sports Complex, and the public square were the most visited in the last year while Shawnee Park, Goodrich Giles Park, Armory Park, and High Street Park were the least visited parks in 2016.

Visit the city’s website at piquaoh.org/parks-master-plan/ or the city’s Development office to view the master plan.

Plan available for public comment

By Sam Wildow

swildow@dailycall.com

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@dailycall.com or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@dailycall.com or (937) 451-3336