Parks and Recreation Visioning Session – September 26, 2012

Invited by Councilwoman Lindsay Webb, almost 60 participants from across the city and region gathered at the West YMCA, to contribute their ideas for Parks and Recreation. The purpose for this session was to envision what Toledo can do to make our Parks, Recreational Facilities, and Programs their best. The citizens in attendance brainstormed suggestions and ideas about their perception of a preferred future for Toledo’s parks, recreation facilities, and programs.

Parks and Rec Photo Slideshow for a slideshow of the meeting.

Each participant chose to join a specific group to help develop a vision from the brainstormed ideas. The groups reviewed the ideas, and discussed the question “In Toledo, this is what our area looks like when functioning at its best?” They identified the ingredients that will serve as building blocks for igniting and sustaining even more positive parks, facilities, and programming. They used key words and phrases to create an integrated visual that represented their group’s view of the area they addressed.

Here is a link to visually see the summaries of the three groups presenting their conclusions:

Parks and Rec Preferred Future Activity Report Out.

Let the Parks Reflect Our City’s Pride

The parks group discussed that the biggest issue is safety in our parks, and one way to provide safety is to ensure good lighting. They expressed that good parks are well maintained. Accessibility is important, as are clean/maintained restrooms, well connected trails, and a sports complex facility. Also, several people had suggested having Dog Parks. Ultimately, they created a vision of pride, and came up with the motto “Let the Parks Reflect Our City’s Pride.”

Our Park Facility is Alive

The recreational facilities group started out by encompassing facilities into one Park Facility. They talked about how they view our park facility as alive, and living. The park facility is growing and changing with the city, year to year. The things that are successful will continue to grow and have a wider reach, like a tree. The things that are not successful will automatically drop off on their own, like a tree.

Some specific branches/areas identified in the park facility vision included trained staff, elaborate outdoor options, splash pads & pools, flexible & changeable amenities, multiple restrooms, great pools, beautiful grounds, facilities that are clean & well maintained, versatile, and available for rentals. Also, included were dog parks, and first aid.

Programs Inside Facilities

The programs group talked about a multi-purpose field for soccer and football. They envisioned a horse riding area with a barn, and riding lessons. The availability of boating and kayaking lessons came up, along with buses to provide transportation to the activities. They talked about an outdoor baseball, basketball, and tennis facility, with a playground. They reported the desire to be able to use a credit card instead of cash only. The group also expressed the need of access for individuals with special needs. Ultimately, they found that a large group of program ideas are about programs provided inside of a facility.

The programs group ended with a grouping of some programs by facility. Indoor facilities would provide sewing lessons, cooking lessons, and ceramics. Outside would have swimming lessons, and recreation at the outdoor water park, as well as DARE and TORCH programs. Finally, health programs for young women, more programs for young boys, and intramural sports, completed the programs list.

Final Thoughts

At the end, most walked away with the belief that everyone wants to see the city/community thrive & prosper as a whole. There is a hunger and a need in the city for great parks. Some believed that all of these things can be accomplished, but feel as if some people need more motivation for this to come true. They expressed the desire for more public participation.