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Creating a Parks and Recreation Master Plan

We’re fortunate to have a variety of parks, recreation, trails and open spaces in Coconino County that contribute to people’s quality of life and provide a wonderful way for people to connect to nature and to each other.

At Coconino County Parks & Recreation, we want to ensure the county creates recreational opportunities and spaces that align with the county vision of being “a dynamic community connected by shared values of sustainability, cultural appreciation, environmental stewardship and a spirit of progressiveness.”

Parks, recreation, trails and open spaces connect people’s day-to-day lives. County objectives, like health, transportation and emergency management are also a part of Parks & Recreation planning. The recent Fort Tuthill Thinning Project, which thinned 330 acres at Fort Tuthill County Park to increase forest health, improve public safety and reduce wildfire risk, is a great example of how parks and recreation aligns with the community value of safety, through on-the-ground environmental stewardship and fire management. 

To put together a system of parks and recreation sites, we need to envision what that system looks like and create those opportunities. And that’s where a master plan comes in.

Coconino County Parks & Recreation is in the middle of a year-long process to update the department’s master plan. A parks and recreation master plan is a document that will guide the department’s vision for the next 10 years. The master plan will essentially shape the future of Coconino County’s parks, recreation, trails and open spaces, and will craft a shared vision by identifying existing parks and recreation conditions, needs and future resources. To do that, we met with community members to identify each community’s needs, goals and priorities.

Last year, Coconino County Parks & Recreation held 27 community and stakeholder meetings across the county. Staff members conducted 13 presentations and tables at four open houses to talk about the Master Plan and get feedback. Additionally, more than 100 people provided input through an online questionnaire. We reached close to 800 people and we’re grateful to the Coconino County community for providing input.

Now comes another very important step. A survey was mailed out earlier in February to select Coconino County residents. If you received this survey, please take a few minutes to fill it out and send it in. It’s very important that we get as much community input as possible. If you didn’t receive a survey, you can go online to Coconino.AZ.Gov/Parks/MasterPlan and take the survey before March 17.

Parks and Recreation staff members will be reviewing your comments and incorporating them into the draft master plan, so we need your input. The Board of Supervisors will then review and provide input into the draft master plan when it comes out for review in late spring. The supervisors will vote on the plan and when it is approved, the document will help guide the Parks and Recreation department for the next 10 years. That’s why it is so important that it reflects the county’s values and vision. These are your parks, your future. FBN

By Cynthia Nemeth

Cynthia Nemeth is the parks and recreation director for Coconino County.

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