Small Community Parks and Recreation Master Planning Resource Guide Version II - Individual Professional/Student Edition

Individual Professional/Student Edition
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Dimensions:8.5 x 11
Format: This is the PRINT format of this title Paperback
Author(s): Pat O’Toole
Karon Badalamenti
Teresa Penbrooke
Chris Dropinski
Melissa M. Chew
Rob Layton
Chris Cares

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This Version II Summary Guide is intended to provide an affordable step-by-step outline manual for students or individual professionals wanting to learn how to prepare a master plan for smaller park and recreation agencies.

The authors are professional parks and recreation planners who have conducted more than 450 successful community plans around the United States.

This guide explains tasks can be completed by agencies and provides an overview of other tasks, such as a statistically valid survey, which may be most effectively and efficiently completed as contracted services, and why they are important.

In addition, it provides an overview of the potential decision to contract with an independent third party, such as a professional park, recreation, and open space management consulting firm, which can provide unbiased credibility to the planning process.

Suggestions for decision-making, community and stakeholder engagement, innovative inventory and programming analysis, financial review, technological tools, and an appropriate approval process are included.

A full Version I Guide is also available separately, which includes 18 valuable appendix resources, such as questionnaires, matrices, invitation and inventory templates, and other sample documents to help fully implement a comprehensive planning process.

Table of Contents: 

Chapter 1: Why a Master Plan?
Planning – Why Do We Do It?
Planning − Why Do We Dread It?
Community Comprehensive Plan
Agency System-Wide Master Plan
Specific Plans
Implementation Tools
Sequence of Work
Master Plan Elements

Chapter 2: Start Up
Articulation of the Purpose of the Plan to the Governing Body
Securing the Funding for the Plan
What if We Contract the Plan Out to Consultants?
Working Outline

Chapter 3: The Planning Context
A. Vision − Purpose, Values, and Mission
B. Planning Context
C. Methodology of the Planning Process
D. Timeline for Completing the Plan

Chapter 4: Assessment of Community Need
A. Community Profile, Demographics, and Trends Analysis
B. Community Engagement and Input
C. Compilation of Needs Assessment Findings

Chapter 5: Inventory, Analysis, and Forecasting Needs
A. Inventory of Assets and Lands
B. Level of Service (LOS) Analysis

Chapter 6: Programming and Management Practices
A. How to Manage – Findings Related to Administration and Oversight
B. Findings Related to Programs and Operations
C. Planning and Design
D. Marketing and Communications
E. Information Management and Technology
F. Maintenance
G. Assessment of Other Providers and Partnerships in the Service Area
H. Finances and Traditional Funding

Chapter 7: Goals and Recommendations
A. Recommendations and Action Plans
B. Sub-Sections for Focus and Justification

Chapter 8: Supporting Documents
Typical Appendices

Chapter 9: Putting the Master Plan Together

Chapter 10: Exploration of Other Potential Plans
Specific Public Involvement Plans
Division Work Plans
Business Plan
Operational Plan
Marketing Plan
Technology Plan
Public Art Plan
Parks, Trails, Facilities, and Open Space Plans

Chapter 11: Glossary of Terms

About the Author(s)

Pat O’Toole

Pat brings more than 40 years of management planning experience for parks and recreation agencies, and has been leading projects for GreenPlay as a Principal since 2003.

Prior to joining GreenPlay, Pat worked for another planning firm and as a private consultant. He also served as director and assistant director for several progressive agencies in four different states.

Pat was the original author of the 1st edition of this guide when he was working as a sole consultant, and has contributed to updates of the 2nd and 3rd editions.

Pat has extensive expertise in budgeting, operational pro-formas, cost recovery, activity-based costing, public process, and all other facets of agency leadership and planning.

Pat excels at providing creative visioning and implementation strategies to forward-focused projects and teams.

Pat has been speaking at NRPA, many state park and recreation conferences, NRPA Revenue Schools, and NRPA Executive Development Schools since the early 1980s.

Karon Badalamenti

Before passing away tragically from cancer in 2014, Karon contributed over 25 years of experience in special district and municipal government management and parks and recreation to her work as Principal for GreenPlay LLC, after she joined the firm in 2004.

Karon was instrumental in updating the 2nd edition of this guide in 2006.

Karon specialized in government and public sector planning, fiscal sustainability, operations management, and leadership development.

She trained professionals nationally regarding planning processes, best practices and innovative tools, alternative funding, core services, and resource allocation, among other topics.

Karon believed passionately in the value that parks and recreation brings to communities, and that public agencies need to demonstrate their sound fiscal stewardship practices through transparent forward thinking and public engagement.

Teresa Penbrooke

Teresa founded GreenPlay LLC in 1999 and continues as CEO of the firm, leading completion of over 450 community master plans and related planning efforts around the U.S.

She is also secretary, lead faculty, and director of the Healthy Communities Research Group for GP RED.

Teresa has been integral in the research, quality, recommendations, and implementation of innovations for the field of parks and recreation.

She recently finished her PhD at NC State University in Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management while working full-time, and continues to teach and help update curricula there and for other universities.

She also teaches and researches best practices in agency administration and planning for national and state conferences and individual agencies.

She was previously Curriculum Chair for the Reitz Marketing and Revenue School Planning and Management Institute.

She is also an Official Visitor Chair for the Commission on Accreditation for Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Teresa has been a primary author and editor for both the 2nd and 3rd editions of this guide.

Chris Dropinski

Chris is a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive with over 40 years in the field of parks and recreation administration and management.

Since 2001, she has been co-owner and Senior Principal consulting for GreenPlay.

Her passion for teaching and moving the field forward has led to many successful master planning and feasibility projects across the country.

Earlier in her career, she served as Director of the City of Boulder, Colorado, Parks and Recreation Department for over a decade, providing leadership for the development and provision of parks, open space, trails, and recreation services.

She is an invited member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

Chris provides an innovative and respected approach toward addressing cost recovery, policy development, organizational development, strategic management, cost benefit analysis and revenue philosophy in the public setting, building relationships with alternative providers and partners, developing board/staff relationships, and establishing effective public engagement processes.

Chris has been a primary author and editor for both the 2nd and 3rd editions of this guide.

Melissa M. Chew

Melissa used her over 35 years of experience in public parks and recreation for state, county, municipal, and special district agencies to contribute heavily to the update of this 3rd edition.

She joined GreenPlay as a consultant in 2014 until retiring in 2016.

During her career, Melissa was involved in bringing two new recreation centers and an expansion on line and administered large multifaceted departments including traditional parks and recreation programs and facilities, natural resources management, cemeteries, forestry, museums, historic preservation and special events.

Melissa assisted agencies with master plans, feasibility studies, operational analyses, and pro-forma business plans.

She was skilled at facilitation and communication, building consensus within diverse groups. 

Rob Layton

Rob is a founding partner of Design Concepts, a national landscape architecture firm, an instructor of the North Carolina State University’s College of Design Landscape Architecture Program, and currently serves as Executive Director for GP RED.

Rob’s interest has always focused on how the landscape of the public realm affects the lives of people.

This has led to his involvement nationally toward helping communities understand, create, and manage their public spaces.

He has been a key innovator in parks and recreation digital component-based methods for inventory and level of service analysis, and a primary architect of the GRASP® methodology.

Rob has contributed updated chapters on this topic for both the 2nd and 3rd editions of this guide.

He is dedicated to perfecting the science and practice of measuring how the built environment affects the people who live within it.

Rob travels throughout the world, presents at conferences, leads community workshops, and writes articles on the processes he has helped develop for improving the built environment.

Chris Cares

Chris possesses a diverse background in public and private planning, starting in the 1970s with a Masters in City Planning from Harvard.

A founding partner of RRC Associates, he specializes in practical applications of research techniques including survey and qualitative research, modeling and applied analysis to solve problems in city planning, administration, and business applications.

Parks and recreation needs assessments are particular areas of specialization, and he has led over 100 community survey projects for GreenPlay.

Chris has overseen numerous community/citizen surveys for local communities throughout the United States, which provide input to parks, recreation, trails, open space, and planning needs assessments.

The results of these studies typically become incorporated into parks and open space master plans, or other policy documents.

Chris has been instrumental in updating the survey and community engagement sections of the 2nd and 3rd editions of this guide.