Kansas City, Missouri Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan

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1 Kansas City, Missouri Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan

2 Introduction The implementation of this Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan in the first decade of the 21st century presents a number of serious challenges and intriguing opportunities. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards has faced obstacles over the last several years as budget cuts have reduced revenues by several million dollars annually. This decrease in funds has taken a toll on the quantity of recreation programs and services provided by the Department. Additional opportunities for funding are available but depend on the Department s ability to raise awareness of limited resources and engage elected officials, City staff and the community. In order to move forward with this Master Plan, the Department will strive to achieve the stated goals and make all decisions using the vision and mission statements as a guide. The goals presented in this comprehensive plan overview are intended to be forward looking, balance resources with responsibilities and maintain the Department s position as a key player in the growth and development of the community. Kansas City, Missouri Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan Mark McHenry, Director

3 The Kansas City, Missouri Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevard s mission, vision and goals define our commitment to providing quality services to the community. Our Mission To improve the quality of life by providing recreational, leisure and aesthetic opportunities for all citizens, and by conserving and enhancing the environment. We will accomplish this mission by providing quality programming, making the best use of existing resources, developing a supportive and influential constituency, pursuing effective collaboration and partnerships, and acquiring and preserving natural features. OurVision The City of Kansas City, Missouri aspires to be a community which continues its long and rich history within the Parks, Recreation and Boulevards profession as a local, regional, national and international leader. Boosted by the implications in this Master Plan, the value, needed upgrades and new facilities will be recognized by community leaders as they unite to seek the required resources for the trails and greenways, parkways and boulevards, fountains, parks and park facilities. Our Goals Address governance of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Acknowledge staff contributions Modify the financial management system Recognize the importance and value of partnerships Determine the Department s role in the delivery of programs and services Create a new model for park acquisitions and development Recognize the importance of neighborhoods in the community Recognize the importance of the park system to the area, regional, national and international community Increase annual operating and capital funds Identify specific park system improvements and new projects Assign staff and funding necessary to implement key elements of the plan Identify and address the uniqueness of each neighborhood s needs Create new park land and recreation facility standards Extend and expand the parkway and boulevard system Identify measures to ensure the plan is properly implemented

4 Address Governance of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will define the importance of leadership and develop unity of purpose within the Department, creating an environment in which staff can excel. Coordinate the formal adoption of the Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan by the Board of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Commissioners. Use the Master Plan to develop implementation policy. Develop performance measures to evaluate implementation of the Master Plan. Require new Board member orientation and an annual review of the Board s role as the governing body of the Department. Require the Board to meet annually with the Mayor to discuss the capability of the Department to support the Mayor s agenda. Meet regularly with the Public Improvement Advisory Commission (PIAC) and City Council to discuss matters of mutual importance.

5 Acknowledge Staff Contributions The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will improve the professional training available, describe job responsibilities and anticipated performance, and recognize staff that contribute above and beyond assigned duties. Provide each staff member a minimum of one training session each year. Develop a performance evaluation system that complements and enhances the existing appraisal evaluation system that incorporates departmental vision and performance measures. Recognize exceptional performance in a timely manner.

6 Modify the Financial Management System The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will improve the financial status of the Department and maintain and improve facilities and services throughout the park system. Increase the operation and maintenance budgets as additional capital facilities are developed. Review maintenance budgets to assure there is adequate funding to maintain and repair existing structures. Establish a dedicated funding source to support long range planning for programs and services. Continue a pricing policy that sets and updates user fees and charges based on established recovery levels. Provide an expenditure budget at the facility/service area level. Perform a cost recovery analysis for each program and service. Create a new budget format that will be used over the next several years to compare performance and budget data. Pursue new capital projects only if the Department is able to retain additional funds to maintain quality programs and facilities. Develop performance measures and policies to facilitate more beneficial partnerships. Re-define core park and recreation services. Evaluate current operating costs against private businesses on a continuous basis. Prepare a revenue and expenditure assessment for new facilities and programs to address the ability to fund additional programs, services and facilities.

7 Recognize the Importance and Value of Partnerships (The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards serves as a catalyst to facilitate partnerships within the community to maximize gains in neighborhood services) The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will build relationships with partners. The Department recognizes the importance of partnerships and the value of the 592,000 hours of time they donate each year. Continue an ongoing dialogue for park system improvements and recreation program planning. Hold annual meetings with current and future partners to discuss opportunities and identify the value added that has been achieved. Formalize partnerships with written agreements.

8 Determine the Department s role in the Delivery of Programs and Services The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will determine the most appropriate role (direct provider, facilitator or outreach) it should take to deliver programs and services to the community, steps that should be taken to efficiently and effectively manage its recreation centers, and performance criteria to be used to evaluate the recreation program. Meet annually with other providers to discuss the role that each should assume as programs and services are being planned. Re-evaluate the management and programming of recreation centers. Establish program measures and conduct user surveys to assist in program evaluation. Meet annually to review the Department s role in providing programs and services to the community; e.g. direct provider, facilitator or in an outreach capacity. Recreation Center Directors will develop a communications plan to be shared with the Director and the Board.

9 Create a New Model for Park Acquisition and Development The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will develop a new model that incorporates new land acquisition strategies, recognizes the current use of park land, and recognizes the connection between park development and conservation planning. Adopt principles, opportunities and benefits of Conservation Planning. Integrate conservation planning with the City s update of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations and storm water initiatives. Adopt and implement the 2017 Park System Plan, which includes 244 miles of trails and greenways. Reassess the current inventory of park lands and identify properties that may be considered for surplus because they do not meet updated land acquisition criteria.

10 Recognize the Importance of Neighborhoods in the Community (Neighborhood parks are recognized as the primary interface with citizens and a priority component of the park and boulevard system.) The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will provide programs and services that meet the needs of the people and neighborhoods that live adjacent to neighborhood parks. Develop neighborhood parks to meet the needs of surrounding neighborhoods. Program recreation centers to address key issues affecting surrounding neighborhoods. Program recreation centers to develop community initiatives specific to reducing youth crime and obesity among youth. Formalize maintenance agreements with neighborhood associations and community leaders to maintain smaller parks. Re-develop inactive or under-used neighborhood parks as open space or green space. Remove playground equipment, structures and park amenities that have out-lived their function. Review, update and benchmark the Developer s Ordinance to be consistent with requirements for park and recreation purposes in communities similar to Kansas City, Missouri.

11 Recognize the Importance of the Park System to the Area, Regional, National and International Community The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will promote its role in history by following the historic park design established by George Kessler, and improving signature amenities such as, the Liberty Memorial, Zoo, Starlight Theater, Swope Park and historic parkways, boulevards and fountains. Develop specified existing parks to meet Signature Park* status. Upgrade and maintain all fountains at the highest level. Upgrade parkways and boulevards to meet the original character as designed by George Kessler. Identify parkways and boulevards that do not meet Kessler s character design standards and cannot be restored. Community level and Signature Parks will be the primary location for large playgrounds, pavilions, aquatic facilities and recreation centers. *A Signature Park is one which the entire community recognizes as one of its most important parks. The Signature Park is one which creates an image of who the community is and what it represents. The Signature Park has the full complement of passive and active recreational activities and creates a high level of earned income. Examples include the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Fairmont Park in Philadelphia, Central Park in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, Grant Park in Chicago and White River State Park in Indianapolis. Swope Park and Loose Park are the two parks that currently fit within this category in Kansas City, Missouri.

12 Increase Annual Operating and Capital Funds The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will improve the rating by citizens of its park system by increasing annual operating and capital funds. Commit resources to core services and search for opportunities to provide non-core services another way. Analyze the park budget from a zero base perspective to determine if operating efficiencies or re-direction of resources can be achieved. Identify a dedicated source(s) for increased operating and capital funds necessary to improve park system maintenance and capital improvements. Create a Park Foundation to assist with fundraising, serve as a depository for private contributions, assist with land acquisition and serve as a tool to acquire grants. Identify a funding strategy for the Department s capital maintenance improvement backlog. Conduct in-depth user and citizen surveys to determine levels of user satisfaction. Analyze the level of service provided in the park system by evaluating both the quantity and quality of parks and facilities by using the Geographic Assessment of Park Systems (GAPS) Process which has been developed by the consultant and is included in the Master Plan.

13 Identify Specific Park System Improvements and New Projects The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will make improvements to existing park facilities and amenities prior to funding new projects. Budgets for new projects that are already underway will include future maintenance and operation costs. Acknowledge that citizens strongly support taking care of existing park system facilities. Customize general park upgrades to meet the needs of citizens in the service area. Make improvements that citizens ranked as high importance first. Remove unsafe, dilapidated, abandoned and unnecessary park amenities in a timely manner. Encourage Home Owner Associations to help maintain neighborhood parks. Develop greenways, trails and bikeways as resources allow. Develop community level recreation centers (not less than 100,000 sq. ft.) Construct community level aquatic centers and abandon small fill and drain pools. Initiate collaborations with state, county, municipal and private agencies which facilitate specific park improvements.

14 Assign Staff and Funding Necessary to Implement Key Elements of the Plan The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will identify resources necessary to implement the key elements of the Master Plan. Assign staff to generate revenue. Assign staff to develop a pricing policy that will generate enough revenue to cover costs to operate certain facilities, services and programs. Assign staff to manage partnership development and coordination. Assign staff to market and promote the park system. Assign staff to coordinate volunteers. Assign staff to grant writing and grant management. Assign staff to compile and analyze user data and performance measures.

15 Identify and Address the Uniqueness of each Neighborhood s Needs The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will improve services provided in each neighborhood by meeting the unique needs of citizens in that area. Participate in the economic development of the City. Participate in the open space and boulevard components of the River Crown Plaza Concept. Complete the Centennial Boulevard Project. Upgrade Penn Valley Park and Swope Park to increase visitor use. Provide services in neighborhoods that are priced to reflect the income level of those living there. Review transportation options as new facilities are developed and recreation programming decisions are made. Provide bilingual marketing materials in the City where they are necessary. Identify and prioritize annually park areas that require redevelopment, restoration and refurbishment.

16 Create New Park Land and Recreation Facility Standards The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will adopt new park and recreation standards that will ensure fiscally responsible choices about new parks and facilities. Adopt recreation facility standards for swimming, tennis, golf, community centers, athletic fields, playgrounds and ice skating rinks. Adopt new park land standards for various park types which include neighborhood, community, metropolitan, regional, greenways, trails and special use; e.g. athletic complexes.

17 Extend and Expand the Parkway and Boulevard System The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will design and construct parkways and boulevards in areas of the City that lack connections to the existing system thereby creating economic development benefits. Complete the Parkway and Boulevard System Study. Extend the Parkway and Boulevard System from its current 124 mile length by approximately 40 miles.

18 Identify Measures to Ensure the Plan is Properly Implemented The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards will implement a number of measures to monitor the implementation of the Master Plan. Adopt standards for park land/open space acquisition and development of recreation facilities and trails. Develop a policy for cost recovery of programs and services. Update the Developer s Ordinance. Revise the Parkway and Boulevard Assessment to increase the cost recovery level. Formalize Partnership Agreements so that they identify participation levels and are reviewed annually. Develop a Land Acquisition Policy that addresses community needs. Develop a Conservation Policy that addresses the MARC regional Conservation Plan. Develop a Marketing and Communications Plan that addresses citizen awareness of Department programs, services and park opportunities. Develop and share with the Board and the public an Annual Report on the progress of the Master Plan. Develop a Stakeholder Scorecard to assess organizational performance.

19 Kansas City, Missouri Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Boulevards Master Plan K A N S A S C I T Y, M I S S O U R I PA R K S, R E C R E A T I O N A N D B O U L E VA R D S 4600 E. 63rd Street Kansas City, Missouri (816) kcmo.org/parks ETC/Leisure Vision PROS Consulting The Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards is a nationally accredited agency through the National Recreation and Park Association which endorses the guidelines established by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). As a nationally accredited agency, the Kansas City, Missouri Department of Parks, Recreation and Boulevards has met the recommended national standards for service to the community.

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