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Parks board unveils plan

Patrons of the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District gathered on Thursday to analyze and offer comments on the struggling district’s new Master Plan — and its board of commissioners is still seeking public input.

“We want people to get a chance to...give us feedback on it,” said Board Chair Larry Walker. “They can speak directly to us, send their comments in writing or even e-mail them to us.”

The plan has been organized into five categories, each with a complete set of goals and a specific plan of action for the Board.

According to the new Master Plan, the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District Board of Commissioners’ goals fall into five categories — recreation, public participation, stewardship, operations and capital facilities.

Objectives of the recreation goal are to establish and maintain a balanced parks and recreation system for youth and adults, incorporate existing county, school district, and other agencies’ facilities into time sharing for recreational programs and meet the growing needs of all groups for recreational and educational opportunities to address the diverse interests of the population.

The Master Plan states the board “will create and distribute an annual calendar of events, encourage public and private partnerships to do recreational activities in the park, including Family Programs, Youth and Teen Programs, Senior Programs, Specialized Recreation, and Special Events and Cultural Activities and explore alternatives such as grants, internships and interagency partnerships to secure funding for recreational programs, special events and facilities.”

Objectives of the public participation goal are to use the public business and special meetings to gather public ideas, volunteers and groups to improve the parks’ image and provide community services by participating in the open meeting process to identify public interests and recreational needs and by developing and maintaining park areas and programs, maintain a public involvement process to periodically review and update the Comprehensive, Stewardship, and Capital Improvement Plans and recognize the value of volunteers.

Once again, the board established specific goals.

The Master Plan states the board “will conduct school, senior, business, and civic club outreach efforts to engage a broad spectrum of area residents and agencies in volunteer activities at every level of park business, create core volunteer groups to support specific work in the parks, such as beautification or environmental work, safety, maintenance, educational programs, program support and marketing, and special events, create a Volunteer Program Policies and Procedure handbook for adoption by the board, update information about volunteer opportunities annually.”

Objectives of the stewardship goal are to identify fish and wildlife habitat and trails, and open space lands useful for recreation, habitat, trails, and passive park use, use regulatory techniques, including conservation easements, purchase of development rights, and community acquisition of lands for public ownership in perpetuity and plan and organize stewardship activities.

The Master Plan promises the board “will appoint new members to the Stewardship Planning Advisory Committee, provide an outline for the Stewardship group to assess natural resources and maintenance needs, and organize educational programs, review reference materials such as the 1999 Master Plan, ideas from other parks (e.g., cities and counties, MSRC website), and citizen input and seek funding to assure staff assistance for the Stewardship Plan project.”

Objectives of the Operations and Business Plan goal are to provide for the self-funding of the SK Parks and plan for long-term financial sustainability.

The Board will “work with Friends of South Kitsap Parks to implement a financial plan for the South Kitsap Parks District.

They will prepare spreadsheets from past revenues and expenses, present an annual budget recommendation and raise funds as a nonprofit group. The Board will also implement a Fundraising Plan, pay outstanding election debts, recruit part-time staffers to assist with parks operations and maintenance and explore alternatives such as grants, internships and interagency partnerships to secure funding for South Kitsap Parks programs.”

Objectives of the Capital Facilities goal are to rely on the Capital Improvement Plan as a tool to organize the development sequence and coordinate park programs as a system, provide specific ideas for capital improvements in the park, establish standards for future development in the park, encourage volunteers and recreational user groups to work with South Kitsap Parks District for future public facilities, facilitate routine operations and maintenance and operate, maintain and develop facilities — partnering with other public entities whenever possible – to meet local recreation needs.

The board “will schedule a public involvement process to periodically review and update the Comprehensive and Capital Improvement Plans, achieve high quality projects that plan for long-term financial sustainability, meet the deficit and growing needs of all groups for recreational and outdoor opportunities, including the disabled, youth, and senior citizens, rely on the Capital Improvement Plan as a tool to organize the development sequence and realize each park program in a coordinated fashion and explore alternatives such as grants, internships and interagency partnerships to secure funding for SK Parks planning and for capital facilities projects.”

To offer feedback on the new Master Plan call (360) 895-1551, e-mail info@skparks or visit www.skparks.org.

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