You can’t win if you don’t play

paddler2County officials are gathering public input now for revisions to the Park Authority’s Strategic Plan.

At the public meeting on May 18 2009, about a dozen people highlighted the need for a network of trails, more neighborhood parks close to where people live, and action on protecting green open space before it’s all developed.

This feedback to the Park Authority matched the findings of the Park Authority’s 2008 Needs Assessment, which verified that people are willing to invest in the future.

After a frustrating year of trying to establish “aim high” goals for the Parks and Open Space Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, many people might be feeling cynical about the value of participating in another planning effort. But if you don’t play, you can’ win.

Prince William Conservation Alliance recommendations for the PWC Park Authority Strategic Plan include a focus on actions that:

  • Prioritize efforts to address unmet park and recreation needs, including land acquisition;
  • Prioritize efforts to ensure park and recreation opportunities in areas close to the population they will serve;
  • Inventory current parkland holdings to identify rare, sensitive and high quality natural and cultural resources… as required in the County’s Comprehensive Plan Parks & Open Space Chapter;
  • Add goals and actions that address passive recreation needs;
  • Collaborate with other to increase active and passive recreation opportunities;

Trails and parks are as necessary to communities as roads, sewer systems and utility grids (Peter Harnik, Trust for Public Land).

The standard in the County’s Comprehensive Plan is for the county to own 15 acres/1000 residents, a far cry from the 25 acres/1000 residents called for by citizens.  With 386,000 residents, Prince William is still 25% short (1600 acres) of that standard.  The county needs to acquire 190 acres/year, every year for the next 22 years, to meet the standard in the year 2030.

You can read more about this opportunity to influence park and recreation policies in PWC on our webpage here and submit comments to the PWC Park Authority here.

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