Frisco launches new effort to develop a master plan for parks
What do you love about Frisco’s parks? What would you like to see improved?
Now is the chance to voice your opinions on the matter as the town dives into a new Frisco Parks Master Plan process meant to create a framework for future developments.
“What I was hearing as a mom, community member and someone who spends a lot of time at the parks, is that they’re really the foundation of our quality of life and our visitor-based economy,” said Frisco Councilwoman Melissa Sherburne. “It’s important that we’re able to properly highlight those, and make sure they’re meeting the needs of our residents and visitors.”
Of note, the master plan won’t actually include efforts on all of the town’s 11 parks. Some of the bigger attractions, such as the Frisco Bay Marina and the Peninsula Recreation Area, are substantial enough to carry their own master plans. Other, smaller amenities, such as Triangle Park, are already included in the planning efforts of other projects, such as the Highway 9 Gap Project.
With much already covered, the master planning process will focus in specifically on four of Frisco’s parks: Meadow Creek, Pioneer Park, Walter Byron Park and the Old Town Hall/Community Center Park.
The planning process will be primarily informed by community feedback, beginning with a somewhat ambitious outreach effort in May as the town hopes to host separate park-side public meetings at each of the parks on the list.
“Our hope is that we’ll get the people who are the most effected, who use that park a lot and who can tell us what they’d like to see improved or enhanced,” said Susan Lee, town planner. “It will allow us to talk to them about the park, in the park. Being in that context really makes for a more meaningful conversation, and you think of things you might not otherwise because you’re in that space.”
The park gatherings will be every Wednesday in May from the 8th through the 29th, 4–6 p.m., in order from Meadow Creek, Pioneer Park, Walter Byron Park to Old Town Hall/Community Center Park.
The town has already hired Norris Design to facilitate the planning process; and while nobody knows what improvements will be proposed yet, the town has already shown a financial dedication to the project. Lee said the town is paying Norris Design about $40,000 for their work on the project, along with allocating about $125,000 per year over the next five years for improvements.
“It’s not a small amount of money,” said Sherburne. “But I think with things that are really important to our community it’s important to have ongoing investment in those. We haven’t defined how we’re going to spend that money; we’ll have to learn that from the community. But as a council we’re really committed to making sure that our parks are world-class, like the rest of our amenities, so we can preserve that visitor economy and this lifestyle we all enjoy here.”
Town officials say the prioritization of the planning process isn’t so much a result of dereliction or dilapidation at the parks, but rather an effort to stay ahead of the curve in regards to trends in parks, finding ways to optimize their potential and making sure they’re working together.
“With parks like Walter Byron, which are well developed and well used, we want to look at what we can do better,” said Sherburne. “And with the smaller parks, is there a way to better utilize them? As a whole, we’re also looking at how they meet the comprehensive needs of the community, not just looking at each individually, but how they work together.”
Lee said that the town will be sending out a mail-in survey next month to residents and second-home owners in Frisco to determine which features community members would like to see in the parks — whether it’s small things like increased restrooms, benches and pathways, or more substantial changes like new playground equipment, multi-purpose fields or other wants.
Norris Design is expected to bring conceptual designs to the council as early as the June 20 town council work session. The plans should be finalized with cost estimates in place by July, and construction on park improvements will begin next year.
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