MANCHESTER — Town officials say that the Parks and Facilities Master Plan is moving forward, and residents can voice their opinion about what they want to see in the town spaces over the coming months.
Director of the Department of Recreation, Family, and Leisure, Chris Silver announced Tuesday that the new master plan is a collaboration with BerryDunn, a consulting company based in Portland, Maine.
The master plan will outline how Manchester can develop parks, trails, open space, and other recreational areas in town during the coming years. Planning and Economic Development Department Senior Planner Kyle Shiel is the project manager of the Parks and Facilities Master Plan and is working as a liaison between the town and BerryDunn.
“The plan is intended to be a blueprint for future boards and commissions to make decisions about the parks and rec system,” Shiel said in an interview Friday.
When announcing the beginning of the plan’s development, Silver said “representative engagement is especially important.” Shiel echoed these thoughts on community involvement, and said there is a family day planned later this month where residents can learn more. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, the town is hosting a “Trick or Treat for Parks,” in several parks across town. Information and interactive activities related to the master plan would be available at the parks during the event, and more details about the Halloween-related event will come out in the next week, as well.
“Hopefully by the end of the plan we’re going to have a good sense of what the community wants and needs for parks and facilities,” Shiel said. “They’ll tell us the direction they want to go.”
Further, Shiel said the town plans to send out a survey to several hundred randomly selected residents in November asking them about specific aspects of the parks system. There have also been 17 focus groups hosted digitally related to the plan, and more such gatherings will be scheduled for the future.
Meanwhile, residents can go online to the recently launched Your Voice Matters Manchester website where they can read more about the plan and brainstorm ideas with others. There is a section where residents can post their thoughts on what they’d like to see in the parks, and others can “like” or comment on the ideas themselves.