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City planning commission recommends adoption of $150 million parks and recreation master plan

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City planning commission recommends adoption of $150 million parks and recreation master plan

Photo caption: Carlos Perez (left), president of Perez Planning and Design presented the final draft of the parks and recreation master plan to the Decatur Planning Commission on Tuesday, Mar. 14, at Decatur City Hall. Photo by Angela Walker

By Angela Walker, contributor 

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Planning Commission, at its March 14 meeting, unanimously voted to recommend that the City Commission adopt the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, also known as Recreatur. This long-term project could cost more than $150 million. 

To see the plan, click here.

Some of the big ticket items identified in the plan include:

— $1.2 million to improve restrooms at Glenlake Park.

— $1 million to improve the field at Adair Park

— $2.5 million to improve the access and field at Glenlake Park

— $1.5 million to improve the baseball and mini rectangle field at Westchester Elementary

— $2.6 million to improve baseball fields at Glenlake Park

— $1.5 million to improve baseball fields at Glennwood Elementary

— $3.5 million to create a neighborhood park in downtown Decatur

— $2 million to build a lighted basketball court, pavilion, restroom buildings, and a skate park at Ebster Field

— $11.2 million for a Sugar Creek Garden / Oakhurst Park master plan that would include enhanced softball and multi-purpose fields

— $1.5 million for a plan and park amenities at Beacon Hill Middle School

— $5 million to create a Scott Boulevard Trail that would connect city parks

— $3.9 million to create a trail from downtown to Legacy Park

Carlos Perez, president of Perez Planning & Design — the consultant drafting the plan — presented it to the planning commission. The Recreatur plan aims to improve and expand the city of Decatur’s parks and recreation system. The vision of the draft plan is to enhance lives across communities, and the mission is to provide quality experiences that promote healthy living and connections.

The 12-month process of developing the plan included participation from city staff, partners, and more than 800 community members – the culmination of a comprehensive and collaborative approach. During the planning process, Perez Planning & Design used a three-pronged approach to assess the needs and priorities of the parks and recreation system. 

The final draft includes ten values that were identified by city staff. They are – the highest standards in the field, active living, inclusion, positive work culture, innovation, partnerships, quality service, accountability, stewardship, and accessibility. “

“This plan gives us a true roadmap for the future and will help us build and sustain great parks and recreation facilities and amenities,” said Greg White, director, Active Living Department.

Additionally, the plan includes three guiding principles of equity, sustainability, and connectivity. 

“That’s ensuring that all residents have equitable access to parks and facilities,” Perez said. “We want to be collaborative; we want to be creative, and we also want to be aggressive in terms of park land and park facilities in the future to address the needs of residents moving forward.”

Community members want equitable access and connectivity to indoor and outdoor spaces, including playgrounds, outdoor pools, tennis and racquet courts, parks, sidewalks, bike trails, and more.

“What we’re proposing is we expand to make sure all parks, schools and trails are connected to create a complete system where residents can walk and bike to parks, schools, and trails throughout the city,” Perez said.

To pay for the more than $150 million plan, the city will consider multiple funding options, including Special Option Local Sales Tax (SPLOST), General Obligation Bond, fundraising, and grants. Allocation of funds to improve existing facilities, develop new parks and recreation facilities, develop walking and biking trails, and acquire parkland will require an ongoing prioritization process. 

The next planning commission meeting on April 11 will offer an update on the downtown master plan.

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