ABOUT THE PARKS & RECREATION MASTER PLAN
LIVE - LOVE - LOWELL
The City of Lowell has partnered with the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management at NC State University to conduct a Parks and Recreation Program Review and Needs Assessment Study. The NC State project team has expertise in community planning and parks and recreation administration.
Engaging the public through a formal needs assessment process provides valuable information that agencies can use to drive future planning efforts. Obtaining input from the public on their wants, needs, and priorities helps to ensure that community voices are incorporated into facility and program development. The study results will help determine the current and future facility and program planning efforts.
The City of Lowell, NC Parks and Recreation Department, serves more than 3,600 residents in the City of Lowell and surrounding areas. The department provides recreation and community programming for children, youth, adults, and seniors. In addition, the department manages a range of natural and built facilities used for passive and active recreation within the city limits
COMMUNITY INPUT AND COLLABORATION
Lowell's staff will work with the community and project team from NC State University to ensure that the community input and collaboration efforts reach the greatest number of citizens throughout Lowell. Building community engagement through these partnerships will help establish relationships to ensure that the planning process is inclusive and transparent.
The project team will tour and observe current recreation facilities, programs, and services, review department and city short- and long-range recreation planning efforts, and analyze department program registrations and facility usage patterns. Finally, the team will conduct a review of the literature relating to trends in indoor and outdoor recreation facility space design and use, as well as trends in recreation and community programming.
The project team will gather community input at city events this fall; community members will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the plan. The team will also conduct focus groups with key stakeholders in the community, representing various recreation users and interest groups. Session activities will include polling on facility and program priorities to identify shared facility and program needs.
A city-wide online household survey will be launched to determine recreation program and facility needs, priorities, and service gaps. Paper copies of the survey will be made available for citizens who do not have online access. Paper copies of the survey may be distributed via the public library, in the town's municipal building, or locations around the city.
FEEDBACK & REPORT
The team will develop a final written report with recommendations. In addition to a set of summary recommendations, the written report will include all sources of data collected throughout the project, including benchmarking data, focus group themes, public forum data, and quantitative and open-ended survey data. The final report will also include an implementation plan, to include steps for organizing and moving key recommendations forward from concept to action
A COMMUNITY DRIVEN PROCESS - YOUR INPUT MATTERS
Successful park and recreation agencies must keep up with the demands of their community and make every effort to tailor their services to meet community needs (National Recreation and Park Association, 2016)