Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Master Plan Advisory Meets March 23 and Parks and Recreation Element Amendment from Dec 10 Meeting

Hello -I just wanted to touch base with you to let you know that our next Comprehensive Plan meeting has been scheduled for Monday, March 23rd at 7:00pm at the Dearborn County Administration Building (Commissioners Room).  We hope that you will be able to attend and give your feedback and recommendations as we begin discussions related to a new planned Element of the Comp Plan, regarding Economic Developmentof the Plan update. **I will be sending you an additional email with some background information materials relevant to this Element, as well as items related to area attractions, cultural centers, tourism, etc.

I have also attached the information related to our recent discussions on the Parks & Recreation Element—including amended / updated goals and objectives for this section of the plan. If you have any questions, comments, and / or recommendations on any of these items, please call or email me at your earliest convenience. Please note: The highlighted text in the attached document represents new or amended text from the previous Plan and / or notes from our last meeting.

If you have a conflict for the March 23rd meeting, please call or email me or another member of our staff so that we can prepare accordingly. If you would like to send an alternate person in your place, please call me to discuss this option if it has not already been arranged previously.

Thank you for your time, patience, and continued support with our Comprehensive Plan Update efforts!

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Mark McCormack


KEY ISSUES: (TEXT THAT HAS BEEN HIGHLIGHTED IS PROPOSED AMENDMENT OR ADDITION)                                                                                        

Need to inventory all park areas, recreational opportunities, and trail systems to determine what we have and what we need (collectively). All alternatives should be considered for park and recreational lands / areas that are not in active use or that do not have planned uses.

Existing facilities are not utilized to full potential. Need to publicize through better communication/advertisement of existing park resources and improve existing facilities to increase use

Need to consider the desire and viability of the community to have a regional area or State Park (e.g. Glenn-Collins property)

Need to provide linkages between existing and planned park areas and recreational opportunities—including those outside of Dearborn County but with regional accessibility

Need more passive recreational opportunities such as bike paths, hiking, walking, as well as those involving water features, access, and uses.

Need indoor park and recreation opportunities such as a sports complex

Need more park and recreation areas and facilities that offer varied uses - most existing (areas and facilities) are single use and small

Need a number of viable mechanism(s) to obtain land for parks, recreational areas, and trails as the Dearborn County population and demand for these uses and facilities grow

Need better coordination and prioritization between community park boards and other entities, including, but not limited to: the conservancy district, the oxbow conservancy, the visitor’s and tourism bureau, etc.

Need to collaborate with regional park providers beyond County 

Need to recognize security as an important component of planning for, and providing, parks, recreational areas, and trails.

GOAL: Provide a park system that enhances the quality of life for Dearborn County residents.

Enhance existing park and recreational facilities to include a greater variety of activities and opportunities available to users by adding attractions and providing activities for all seasons.

Assist in the coordination of planning efforts that involve parks, recreation areas, open lands, and trails—among all of the local, State, and Federal agencies and organizations.

3 Encourage the acquisition and donation of property for a variety of park, recreation, and open space use(s) by establishing funding and incentive mechanisms.

4 Encourage a significant trail system—connecting parks to other parks, recreational facilities / areas, and other amenities where feasible in the County and within the OKI Region.

5 Assist in the development of a long-range plan for future recreation needs in accordance with population growth projections and in coordination with the resources available for acquisition and maintenance. 

6 Encourage residential and commercial developers to either provide open space or allocate funds to purchase, create, upgrade or maintain parks, recreational facilities, trails, or supporting infrastructure and services (as part of the housing and / or business plan).

7 Encourage private property owners to explore public and private conservation easement options.

8 Consider purchase of development rights (PDR's) or transfer of development rights (TDR's) to secure open space.

9 Encourage parks, trails, and open spaces to be integrated into infrastructure and service projects such as those involving roadways, drainage improvements / areas, and utility corridors.

10 Promote the education of citizens about parks, recreation areas, trails, and open spaces and encourage volunteerism wherever possible and practical.

GOAL: Preserve historic and / or culturally-significant sites and important natural features.

11 Conduct a cultural and natural resource inventory to identify and prioritize potential preservation areas.

12 Preserve unique or distinctive historical, natural, and cultural resources by encouraging Best Management Practices of those areas, where possible and practical. 

Favorite activities / uses of our parks and recreation areas
(entire Dearborn County community):

Enjoy / watch nature
Family activities
Picnics / use shelters 
Promote health
Walk dogs

Missing activities / uses in our parks and recreation areas
(entire Dearborn County community): 

Well-maintained fishing areas / ponds
Shooting / archery range
Indoor recreation opportunities
Increased number of hiking and biking trails
Camping opportunities
Need more soccer fields, baseball fields, and basketball courts
Need more playground equipment
Ice skating opportunities
Possible Park & Recreation Areas (to be mapped):
State Park along State Road 1 (Glenn-Collins property; across from Nowlin Ave)
Whitewater River area
Oxbow area (near I-275 community entrance)
Laughery Creek area
Tanner’s Creek area
Hogan Creek area
County Farm (expansion)

Specific trail opportunities that have been identified include:
Providing better connectivity within the 6.7-mile Dearborn Trails system, specifically by the Hollywood Casino area in Lawrenceburg and in the urban section of the City of Aurora. (The trail in these 2 sections is virtually non-existent; people are required to exit the main trail and enter the city streets / sidewalks from the levee or travel through areas with higher, more intense vehicular traffic.)
Providing location / identification markers for almost all trail heads / entrances.
Providing mile markers within, or adjacent to, the trails for 911 / emergency responses.
Providing linkages to existing and proposed regional trails—including those that tie into southwest Ohio along the Ohio River as well as the Shawnee Lookout, Miami Whitewater Park, and Whitewater Canal areas.
Providing connectivity to the entire community’s park and recreation areas.

General comments:  
There is $250,000-$300,000 of funding currently set aside for County park land acquisition.
A community park along a river, such as the Whitewater River, would be desirable. This type of area would have many ecosystems that do not occur in the uplands.

 We need park area(s) in the northern part of the County, where a good portion of our population and our growth is expected to occur. The centralization and combination of parks and recreational areas / opportunities should be evaluated / considered.

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