The future of Parks & Rec

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Covington’s Parks & Recreation brought yoga for kids to Randolph Park.

Master plan seeks input about activities, facilities 

COVINGTON, Ky. - The mission of Covington Parks & Recreation is easily identified: Fun.
 
But defining “fun” - and identifying how the City division can best deliver on that mission to Covington families - takes a little more thought and strategy.
 
Having hired a consultant to help write a master plan, Parks & Rec is asking the opinions of the people who use its facilities and programming. There are several ways to engage:
  • A new survey and interactive website, which can be found HERE.
  • Ongoing meetings with a steering committee that includes City officials and the public.
  • Upcoming focus groups to discuss specific ideas like youth sports, dog parks, and trails.
  • And a kick-off meeting Oct. 17 at City Hall.
“We don’t believe in that adage, ‘Build it and they will come,’ ” said Parks & Rec Manager Rosie Santos. “That’s us telling our families what they want. We’d rather listen and let them tells us what they want.”
 
To raise awareness of the master plan initiative, Parks & Rec has created a short video, which can be seen HERE.
 
All told, Covington has nearly 1,000 acres of parkland and green space spread out over 40 different parks, playgrounds and facilities, including about 700 acres that make up the expansive Devou Park and its golf course and biking trails.
 
The City directly manages about 30 facilities on nearly 200 acres, including the Licking River Greenway & Trails, the Riverfront Commons trail under construction, the 54-acre Bill Cappel Sports Complex (with its baseball diamonds and soccer fields), two full-size swimming pools, a water park, and an array of smaller playgrounds.
 
Historically, its programs and events have centered providing affordable fun for families, with a wide array of activities, including the annual fishing derby for kids, aquatic aerobics for seniors, Easter Egg hunts, basketball skills clinics, yoga in public settings, one-day swim events for dogs, arts and crafts at parks and playgrounds, Tai Chi classes for adults, and outdoor movies.
 
The goal of the master plan is to create a long-term strategy for the agency that addresses a broad range of issues, concerns, trends, and questions that center on one thought: What facilities, activities, and sports do residents most want to see?
 
The agency did a similar survey last December that focused on programming alone. This one is broader and focuses on facilities and activities. It’s especially important given Parks & Rec’s limited staff and budget, Santos said.
 
“We have lots of big ideas for many of our facilities, but many of them cost a lot of money,” she said. “So we want to prioritize spending on facilities and activities that our families will most use.”
 
The survey takes 5 to 10 minutes. It was developed by Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a firm of architects, engineers, and planners hired by the City to write the master plan and draw up engineering plans for improvements at Barb Cook Park in Latonia.
 
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