Winchester Parks & Rec Put The ‘Pro’ In Proactive

Winchester Parks & Rec Put The ‘Pro’ In Proactive

They've hired a professional survey firm to get the public's input about their park needs and experiences.

WINCHESTER, Va.Winchester’s Park and Recreation Department is putting the ‘pro’ in proactive. They've hired a professional survey firm to get the public's input about their park needs and experiences.

"[The firm is called] GreePlay. They're a nationwide organization that specifically does needs assessments, master plans, and things like that for parks and recreation," said John Bentley a chairperson on the Park Advisory Board and Board Liaison to the Needs Assessment.

This is the first time the city has offered a survey in regards to parks and recreation, which will cost about $50,000 to put on.

"This is a first for us, so it's very exciting,” said Bentley. “We don't just want the folks that use the park all the time. What does the silent majority want? How do we reach them?"

Through focus groups, community stakeholder interviews and a general survey, GreenPlay will gather feedback on the city's parks and recreation faculties and program opportunities.

"We’re trying to reach as many folks as we can with these venues, because everyone's opinion counts. This plan is going to go for the next five to seven years,” said Bentley. “We want everyone's interest because we want our parks to be for the folks."

Currently, there are 270 acres within the park system; 170 acres in Jim Barnett Park and 100 acres in 13 community parks. Last year, their fiscal budget was approximately $2.615 million, and they recorded 23,717 drop-in rec center visits, 3,694 after-school and summer camp participants and 240 dog park memberships.

"We want healthy, safe parks that the citizens of Winchester want to come to,” said Bentley. “That's really our main goal."

The Winchester Parks and Recreation Department will begin their focus group sessions on May 20th and 21th. For more information, visit their website, call (540) 662-8239 or email wincparks@wincehsterva.gov.

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