Parks & Recreation to Implement Key Strategic Plan Goals with Help from the Community
The Teton County/Jackson Parks & Recreation Department (TCJPRD) has a lot of upcoming projects in the hopper. Before community engagement about these projects begin later this summer, the Parks & Rec wants to look back and help everyone remember how our community arrived at this point.
In 2018, TCJPRD’s board and staff went through a thorough and comprehensive strategic planning process. This plan evaluated the current system, developed goals and guidelines,
and created strategies for maintaining current assets and developing new ones. The process included community and stakeholder engagement and visioning and analyzed desired levels of service. Parks & Rec’s Strategic Plan is a roadmap helping ensure the community has an ideal balance of facilities, amenities, and programs for many years to come.
The Strategic Planning process showed a consistent perspective in the community that limitations in terms of facilities were presenting a big challenge. Overall, the community felt that Parks & Rec did a great job with limited resources, but that increasing demands would lead to the need for more capacity. As a result, in 2019, the community voted for $22 million in specific purpose excise taxes (SPET) to expand the Recreation Center. These tax dollars will support planning, design, and expansion and renovation of the existing Recreation Center, and construction of new features including an additional gymnasium and indoor track, a climbing gym, an outdoor aquatic splash pad, and recreational and wellness opportunities for all ages.
Other information gathered from the community during the Strategic Planning process included high and medium-term priorities. One of the highest identified needs was for the expanded accessibility and amenities for developmentally disabled members of the community. The plan identified that TCJPRD does not provide enough opportunities for people with disabilities. Suggestions for improvement include development of space for programming specifically tailored to differently abled community members, increased Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) parking at facilities, and specifically tailored amenities at parks. Parks & Rec is working on all of these possibilities throughout its system and properties.
Another high priority identified was the development of enclosed dog off-leash areas in community parks. The Strategic Plan recognized that local community groups have been working to find dog off-leash areas for some time, and that such amenities provide positive social gathering places that provide community benefit. The plan explores possible sites for enclosed sections for dog off-leash areas within May, Miller, and Powderhorn Parks.
Medium-term priorities include developing programs for active agers, more opportunities for pickleball, integrated fitness opportunities, “adventure camp” for adults, and development of natural parks for passive activities. Other priorities highlighted include a Development Plan for May Park and implementation of the Karns Meadow Master Plan, with public access to Flat Creek, habitat and resource education, and pedestrian trails.
Lastly, the Strategic Plan focuses on continued diversification of programming and further emphasis on community engagement. At a Community Open House scheduled for mid-August, Parks & Rec staff will present more detail about projects highlighted above and gather input about the coming Rec Center expansion, other updates and changes, and potential for new opportunities and programs. Through this engagement, TCJPRD aims to build a future that best serves our community, in ways that invite everyone to feel comfortable accessing recreational activities and parks for years to come.
For more information on the Strategic Planning Process, or to stay up to date with upcoming community engagement opportunities, please follow the TCJPRD social media accounts or visit the TCJPRD website at: http://tetonparksandrec.org/1335/Parks-Recreation.