After several months of staff work and extensive public outreach, the staff of Willamalane Park and Recreation District has completed a draft update to the agency’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Plan will be released for public comment on June 19 and, following the one-month comment period, will be prepared for submission to the Willamalane Board for consideration in September. On June 1, Kristina Boe, Senior Planner for Willamalane, and Michael Wargo, the agency’s Executive Director, reviewed the preparation of the draft plan with members of
Springfield City Club. The public may view the draft plan at www.willamalane.org/future. The draft plan includes a list of projects that the agency would hope to accomplish in the future, along with a map identifying the project locations. There will be an opportunity to submit comments during the public review period.
The goal of the plan update is to position the agency to meet its defined goals for the next decade. ￼
Ms. Boe described in some detail the extensive outreach that has already occurred, including surveys, focus groups and direct outreach to many segments of the community. In that process, she said, the staff learned that people prioritize maintenance and safety in both facilities and neutral areas. She noted that among other things, the amount of natural area managed by Willamalane has grown markedly from about 100 acres at the time the plan was last updated in 2012 to over 700 acres today.
An important concern that the staff investigated was the existence of barriers to use of both facilities and trails. Their work disclosed that while about 25 percent of the district area has adequate service, 55 percent has a somewhat lower level of service and about 20 percent has little or no service. The draft maps show barriers to residents reaching service (like roadways and other barriers) so that as projects are developed and considered the agency can focus on removing or reducing those barriers. In particular, she noted the study disclosed that central Springfield has little access to trails, especially soft surface trails. ￼
The draft also documents a need for closing a gap in service to adults and seniors. She said the agency must adapt to the changing nature of the demographics of the community, both in terms of an aging population and those areas where language barriers to service exist.
Staff work identified that there are now some areas of the Springfield community where expansion has occurred and created places which are outside the Willamalane district boundaries. Mr. Wargo noted that expansion of the district’s boundaries to address that might occur, but doing so will only exacerbate the challenges of providing adequate staffing and other resources.
Ms. Boe said that once the Board of Directors approves the Plan, it must be submitted to both the City of Springfield and to the Lane County Board of Commissioners for approval so that it becomes an official part of the approved long term land use plans for the area.
To view the Facebook feed of the program, click on this link: Willamalane Plan Update