The Village of Clinton has started work on a Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which will guide planning and decision-making over the next 10 years.
“In small towns, especially, recreation is important for residents and for tourism; it’s a benefit to the economy,” said Meghan Burrage, Clinton’s community development coordinator. “Because the master plan will be over 10 years, it gives more direction and bigger goals, and we think there is a need for it.”
The village received a Rural Dividend grant for the project, but the work was put on hold due to staffing changes and COVID-19. Urban Systems was hired in January following a request for proposals. “Now they’re on it, so we’re making headway, and it’s getting more exciting,” Burrage said.
A survey asking residents about their vision for Clinton’s parks and recreation facilities was made available online, and mailed to all households. There were also two online workshops during the week of May 4, which attracted about 20 people.
“We got a good representation of different people at the sessions and had a really rounded discussion,” Burrage said. “We asked people what they thought was great, what wasn’t, what their overarching vision is for the parks in the community, and what’s on their wish list.”
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That list contained a wide range of suggestions, from small things – more signage, benches, accessible sidewalks for people with walkers – to bigger things, such as a splash park. “Some are things that could be done in the short term, and some are bigger picture ideas,” she said.
“The survey was set up to include a lot of different things, and understand that parks and recreation includes everything from sitting and having a picnic to people playing sports.”
An inventory of the village’s parks, facilities, and trails is also being done, and Mayor Susan Swan says the goal is to get everything under one plan.
“It will be good to have all our parks and recreation facilities in one place for the benefit of the public and our staff.”
The arena and the community hall are also included in the plan, as the hall plays a big part in the community. Three trails within municipal boundaries are also included.
“The biggest feedback about the trails was that they’re well used, and the trails’ master plan is appreciated. Now that that’s started, we’re getting feedback about where to go from here.”
Burrage said information from the surveys and workshops is now being compiled. Urban Systems will also conduct interviews with community stakeholders, such as the school district, take an inventory, and wrap up the community portion. A draft version of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan should come back to the community for review this summer, Burrage said.
“It’s nice to see people getting involved and sharing their opinions, and it will be exciting once it’s all pulled together.”