I am excited about the proposed 10-year Recreation and Parks strategic plan which was recently presented to the City Council for review and discussion, and I want to take this opportunity to provide a quick update of where we are in this process.
Following a five-month planning and community survey process, the Johns Creek city staff and its hired consultant have identified and prioritized the next ten years of proposed investment in our recreation and parks amenities.
The next step is for the City Council to review the plan, discuss it further during a future Council work session, and then hold another public hearing before taking a final vote on whether or not to move forward with it.
The top priority, which was identified by the community and was the top recommendation of the Recreation and Parks Strategic Plan, is the acquisition of additional park land. More specifically, it was recommended that we adopt a policy of Prudent Advance Acquisition (PAA). PAA is another way of saying set aside funds and purchase land suitable for large parks, neighborhood parks, and pocket parks that are accessible, serving larger population concentrations and activity centers, even if the land cannot be developed immediately. The concept reinforces the basic premise that if we don’t buy and preserve land today, it will be gone tomorrow.
More than 1,500 residents provided input to the strategic plan, which is very comprehensive, and the resulting product is, in my opinion, very much a reflection our diverse community.
Other areas in the plan we are considering include expanding recreational facilities, possibly adding a cricket field, adding multi-purpose turf athletic fields, and developing an indoor recreation center. The idea behind adding additional athletic fields and facilities is that first they are already desperately needed and in addition can help draw and accommodate more tournaments, which in turn will generate additional revenue which can supplement our parks funding.
We will also take a closer look at expanding programs to include a broader range of age groups and demographics, and link those new programs with existing programs to maximize participation rates.
Another key area under review is our “parks without borders” program, which partners our city with adjacent cities to expand athletic opportunities for our citizens.
The Council will also closely study the recommendation to pursue sensible trail linkages to set the foundation for a future Recreational Greenway Master Plan while recognizing and respecting personal property rights and privacy.
Finally, we recognize the need to improve existing facilities and ensure we continue to provide the exceptional maintenance and service that our residents expect.
The City Council recognizes the need for our recreation and parks amenities and programs to keep pace with Johns Creek’s growing population. As we continue to move forward with the discussion, we will work to ensure that we strike the right balance between the benefits of providing additional parks, facilities, and programs, with the costs associated with each.
Again, we have much more to discuss before the strategic plan is final and even though the surveys are complete, we still welcome any comment or input you may have. I invite you to read the proposed 10-year Recreation and Parks strategic plan currently under review by the City Council and let us know what you think.