City seeking public input on parks plan

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SANDPOINT — The city and its consultants, Green Play, LLC, have begun work on the planning and design of four sites as part of the Parks and Recreation master planning effort.

Those sites include War Memorial Field, City Beach, the sports complex — Travers, Centennial and Great Northern fields — as well as the city’s watershed property.

“One of the conversations we have had over the last couple of year and need to come to a decision on is the field surface at War Memorial Field,” City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton told City Council members on Wednesday. “They (the consultants) have been out doing site visits with the Festival, looking at crowds and impacts.”

The consultants will have their assessment of the field done before next Wednesday, she said, as an open house will be held that day to give the public an opportunity to review the results of Green Play’s initial site observations, and provide input on each of the locations, including existing activities, additional activities or amenities, and turf options for Memorial Field and other sports fields.

The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at in council chambers at City Hall, 1123 Lake Street. Full imagery boards will be on display with initial options for public consideration and feedback.

As it is an open house format, the public is welcome to drop in at anytime throughout the day that is convenient. The open house will be followed by a meeting, open to the public, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Hive, located at 207 N. First Avenue.

“We would like everyone to come out,” Stapleton said, adding that the younger residents are encouraged to come to the open house or meeting as well. “We would like to hear from kids as we are doing planning.”

The format for the evening meeting will be similar to the meeting held on May 2 at The Hive, as Green Play representatives will again present the initial site concepts, summarize the feedback received throughout the day during the open house, and take additional input and comments. The information will ultimately be used to make changes to the initial site concepts and develop alternative options, which will be presented at another public session in late September, Stapleton said in a statement. The final preferred alternatives will be decided in preparation of a final concept master plan for each site at that time, she said.

The public also still has an opportunity to weigh in on priorities, satisfaction and needs for the overall Parks and Recreation Master Plan — including parks, trails, open space and recreation programming — through an online survey at sandpointsurvey.org, which will be open through Aug. 16. To date, 160 online surveys have been completed and submitted and 177 surveys are partially completed. Mailed surveys were sent to a random sample of Sandpoint residents as well, and 576 completed surveys have been returned, Stapleton said in the statement.

The city has budgeted remaining and anticipated tax revenues from the Resort City Tax voter-approved, 1% sales tax in the amount of $2,744,486 in its proposed fiscal year 2020 budget to support field resurfacing at War Memorial Field and improvements at the other sites with any funds left over in accordance with the ballot measure as passed.

In addition, funding from the parks capital improvement fund, recreation fund and impact fees dedicated to parks have also been budgeted to support priorities and projects identified in the final adopted Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the site-specific plans contained within it, Stapleton said in the statement.

Green Play will be developing an overall cost and revenue plan including maintenance and operations analysis and projections as part of the master plan, which will include a comprehensive review and analysis of all Parks fees, revenues and grant opportunities.

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