Review of Draft Parks & Recreation Master Plan focus of tonight’s meeting

October 19, 2005
Santa Paula News

Tonight, the results of a community workshop will be unveiled with a discussion of the draft revised Parks and Recreation Master Plan that details needs and challenges in expanding the city’s facilities and program opportunities.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesTonight, the results of a community workshop will be unveiled with a discussion of the draft revised Parks and Recreation Master Plan that details needs and challenges in expanding the city’s facilities and program opportunities. The meeting will be held this evening (October 19) at the Community Center, starting at 6:30 p.m.In May, the city embarked on a process overseen by consultant Purkiss-Rose RSI to complete a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan to replace the one adopted in the early 1970s. An updated plan will provide the city with park standards, strategies and policies to meet the community’s growing recreation needs through public and private resources.According to the draft report, crafting a demands and needs analysis relied heavily on input at the community workshop and is being used to quantify and understand both the facility and recreational programming needs of the community. Understanding the nature of Santa Paula, community recreational desires versus actual needs, social makeup and the ability to provide services are needed for the city to develop a long range plan for providing the right recreational facilities and programs.The report notes that a 2004 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) study developed a list of trends, which will cause the greatest impact on local agencies planning for recreational facilities. The NRPA’s list of pertinent trends that will affect Santa Paula’s planning efforts for developing recreation facilities and programs include a greater need for walking and biking on trails, and sidewalks within parks and along streets and utility corridors. In addition, collaboration between parks and schools to share construction, development, and use of lands and facilities is recommended, as is crafting preventive recreation that would act as a antidote for social programs, among other recommendations.In May, citizens discussed master plan priorities such as protective measures for open space, aquatics programs and water safety instruction, and more senior citizen programs and activities.
Persons 15 and younger represent 27 percent of the city’s population, higher than both the state and national average of approximately 20 percent. Santa Paula residents between the ages of 15-54 are included in 56 percent of the population; the remaining 17 percent are senior citizens. According to Perkins-Rose, such figures show that the demand for facilities will be for youth, families, and senior citizens respectively.Survey questionnaires were distributed to community groups, representatives of various organizations, and other interested community volunteers and leaders, who were asked a variety of questions about recreation issues including programs, facilities and funding facing the community. According to the respondents, the lack of recreational facilities, especially open space and outdoor active parks, topped the list, and many also cited the need for better maintenance for not only city owned parks but school district fields.There also was a concern for the state of existing facilities that were in need of updating and repair. Community recreation included expanding programs for all age groups, developing more and safer places to play, upgrading existing facilities, providing more open space and neighborhood programming.While in most every case the respondents felt that under the city’s leadership things were going in the right direction and that residents were happy with the services offered, most complaints dealt with the lack of across the board facilities and parks. According to the report, all respondents noted that it was important to provide programs that brought the community together. Funding and lack of same topped the list of concerns about creating new programs and facilities, as well as maintaining present amenities.A copy of the draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan can be found on the City’s website: For further information, contact the Community Services Department at 933-4216.

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