Planning for the Future of Our Parks, Trails, and Facilities

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Welcome to the Parks & Facilities Master Plan project!

The Town of Manchester is embarking on an exciting project to make more effective and community-driven decisions around future investments in Manchester's parks and facilities. Your input and engagement will help make this a successful process and ensure that the voices of all interested residents are heard.

To the right, you'll find information on the project's team, timeline, and historical resources giving you an overview of what's in-store for this project.

Below you'll find three tabs. A Project Overview & Updates tab with up to date resources and info-graphics on why the Town is embarking on this process as well as important resources & reports to keep you up-to-date on the latest project findings. The Share Your Ideas Board tab asks residents to share their thoughts/perspectives/opinions on their favorite and least favorite parks and facilities. This interactive board lets you upload photos and like/comment on other's ideas. The Leave Your Mark tab asks residents to participate in giving their feedback and perspectives through an interactive map of Manchester's parks, trails, and facilities.

Continue to check back regularly as we will update this page with the progress of the project.

Welcome to the Parks & Facilities Master Plan project!

The Town of Manchester is embarking on an exciting project to make more effective and community-driven decisions around future investments in Manchester's parks and facilities. Your input and engagement will help make this a successful process and ensure that the voices of all interested residents are heard.

To the right, you'll find information on the project's team, timeline, and historical resources giving you an overview of what's in-store for this project.

Below you'll find three tabs. A Project Overview & Updates tab with up to date resources and info-graphics on why the Town is embarking on this process as well as important resources & reports to keep you up-to-date on the latest project findings. The Share Your Ideas Board tab asks residents to share their thoughts/perspectives/opinions on their favorite and least favorite parks and facilities. This interactive board lets you upload photos and like/comment on other's ideas. The Leave Your Mark tab asks residents to participate in giving their feedback and perspectives through an interactive map of Manchester's parks, trails, and facilities.

Continue to check back regularly as we will update this page with the progress of the project.

  • Q&A from Speak Up for Our Parks Meeting

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    Are there any forms of surveillance in any of the parks that were favored in the polls? If so which one would you say which park is highly more watched?

    There are surveillance cameras throughout a few of Town parks, including Charter Oak and Northwest Park. Requests to view footage for a particular time and location are handled through the Town’s Information Systems department. The Master Plan could potentially suggest surveillance of some parks where appropriate.

    How will you have an equal balance of nature and parks?

    The masterplan will primarily focus on parks and active recreation, but open space will be included as well. The plan will incorporate how to better connect passive and active recreation areas in town.

    Considering the climate that we are living in at this time, would increasing community gardens or building outdoor classrooms be included in the assessments?

    Great question. The Master Plan could consider gathering feedback from school officials on the idea of outdoor classroom space. Additional garden areas in different parts of Town may be appropriate.

    Has any thought been given to Leiber Field off Love Lane?

    There has not been discussion or requests from Little League regarding this field. It is a private setting for a field which is nice but has limited parking. This may be a location for future lighting if the need/demand was ever there for another lit LL field.

    I agree, would there be an opportunity to create more spaces for nature appreciation? spaces for nature respite

    The masterplan will have a trails and connectivity portion that will address how to better connect active and passive recreation areas within town to one another. One element that could be addressed is creating additional spaces with existing Town parks and open space for areas such as bird watching and other passive actives for nature appreciation.

    Is there any type of work that you are planning to do in order to preserve the wildlife in these areas?

    The preservation of Manchester’s wildlife is an important element in the planning process for any project that has the potential to disrupt the habitat, feeding areas, or migration routes of existing native populations of animals. As the plans for the parks are developed this consideration will carry weight during the design and review process. The future design of certain park elements may provide a unique opportunity to asses and, possibly, enhance wildlife habitat elements. Healthy wildlife populations in our parks should be encouraged not discouraged.

    I was also curious if there was possibly a way to designate an area to smoking, to keep it away from large groups of children as well as just large groups of people in general. As a person with asthma I feel it may be beneficial to the general public.

    This issue was discussed among the Board of Directors several years ago and a smoking ban was not considered a solution. For the most part, people that smoke stay away from the general public and are generally respectful of non-smokers. The Town allows groups that rent or apply for use of our parks/fields to manage smoking at their event (for example, Little League and the Soccer club do not allow it at their events) and is a question asked on the permit application for Town facilities.

  • Speak Up for OurParks Public Meeting

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    View the Speak Up for OurParks Presentation Slides here.


  • Speak Up for Our Parks

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    Thursday, November 19th | 7:00 – 8:00 PM

    Join this 1-hour interactive Zoom Meeting with the Town of Manchester and consultants from Berry Dunn and help shape the future of Manchester’s Parks, Facilities and Recreation Services.

    This special community engagement session will provide information about the Parks and Facilities Master Plan process and prepare the community for the next steps on the planning process.

    Registration

    Registration is required and space is limited. You must complete the registration form by 1:00 PM on November 19th to receive the meeting information.

    To register complete the link.

  • Town to Distribute Parks, Recreation & Facilities Survey

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    Manchester, CT: The Town of Manchester will be conducting a Community Interest and Opinion Survey as part of a Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Master Plan that will help establish priorities for the future development and delivery of parks, trails, recreation facilities, programs and services within the community. The survey will run from November through December and will be administered digitally through the nationally recognized ETC Institute via phone, mail and the Internet.

    During the second week of November, ETC will mail the survey and a Town-approved project description letter to a random sample of households. Residents will be provided two convenient opportunities to respond: an online link that will be included in the letter and a postage-paid return envelope.

    About seven to 10 days after the surveys are mailed, ETC will follow-up with households that received them via e-mail and/or phone; the firm’s goal is to achieve a minimum of 350 completed surveys. A sample of 350 will provide the Town results that have a margin of error of +/-5.2 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. ETC consultants will monitor the distribution of the sample to ensure that it reasonably reflects the demographic composition of the Town with regard to age, geographic dispersion, gender, race/ethnicity and other factors.

    The survey will compile resident feedback on a wide variety of Town parks, facilities and recreation programs and services. “Representative engagement is critical to create a more equitable and accessible community. This survey will help provide Town leaders a more representative cross-section of Manchester residents and what they value.” said Director of Leisure, Family & Recreation Christopher Silver.

    Residents ages 18 and older will have the chance to rank and prioritize items relating to the Town’s parks, recreational programming, facilities, and areas of potential investment. Survey findings will be submitted to the Town in January and presented to the public in June. Residents who are not randomly selected to receive a survey but who are interested in providing input for the masterplan will have an opportunity to complete an identical survey after responses for the statistically valid survey are received and tabulated.

    Established in 1982, ETC Institute is a Kansas-based company that has administered surveys in more than 700 cities and counties nationwide throughout the previous five years. The firm is a national leader in market research for local governmental organizations and, since its founding, has completed research projects for clients in 49 states, including surveys, focus groups and stakeholder meetings.

    For survey updates and results, please visit the Town’s new online public engagement platform at www.YourVoiceMattersManchesterCT.com.

  • Trick or Treat for OurParks Prompts Large Community Turnout

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    The Parks and Facilities Master Plan project kicked into high gear this weekend as hundreds of Manchester residents participated in a community engagement special event, Trick or Treat for OurParks. This event was held at four locations in town; Center Memorial Park, Charter Oak Park, Northwest Park and Squire Village. Attendance surprised us all, as residents of all ages came out to share their thoughts and opinions on what they believe Manchester needs most.

    Children in costumes received goodie bags of candy and a surprise “M” bag filled with crafts and treats. Adults had fun playing with fake money, sticking stickers on maps and sharing thoughts with staff and consultants. Everyone received a raffle ticket to place into contention for several raffle prizes, the top prize being a new BIKE!

    Those attending the event were given $10,000 (of fake money) and were asked to spend their dollars on what they felt the Town needed most.

    Read more about the event on Better Manchester!

  • Trick or Treat for Our Parks

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    Join the Manchester Recreation Division for a special community engagement event happening across Manchester. This family friendly event will offer interactive activities for community members to engage and provide input regarding the Parks & Facilities Master Plan.

    Event Details
    All children in attendance are encouraged to wear a costume and will receive a goodie bag upon arrival and leave with mystery activity bag. All those attending and participating are eligible to be entered into a raffle to win one of the following prizes; a bike; an athletic package, creative arts package, games package, Manchester-Gear Swag.

    Event Locations
    The events are hosted at Center Memorial Park, Charter Oak Park, and Northwest Park

    Covid-19 Considerations
    This event will follow CDC guidelines – we encourage attendees to wear their masks, keep a safe social distance, and stay home if feeling sick.

    For more information read the featured story in BetterManchester!

  • Manchester Community Plans for the Future of Parks, Trails and Facilities

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    MANCHESTER, CT, October 2020 - The Town of Manchester officially kicked off the Parks and Facilities Master Plan project. The Master Plan outlines how to further develop future parks, trails, open space, and recreational areas so as to meet the needs of the community while also investing in the town’s economic and cultural value. Director of the Department of Recreation, Family, and Leisure, Chris Silver explains: “We are embarking on working with a consulting group to create a plan for our parks and public spaces for the future, whether that is tomorrow or 20 years down the road. We want to create a community that is more equitable and accessible than what we have now. So, representative engagement is especially important.”


    Director of Planning and Economic Development, Gary Anderson, also highlighted the range of benefits this Master Plan will bring to town. Businesses and people looking for a place to call home are drawn to Manchester because they want to be in a place with a high quality of life and where there are exceptional public facilities as well as an engaged community and government. Taking care of the parks and facilities also “builds community pride,” which is an “incentive for people to invest in their own neighborhoods,” said Anderson.


    Kyle Shiel, the Senior Planner in the Planning Department, is the project manager of the Parks and Facilities Master Plan, acting as a liaison between the consulting company, BerryDunn, and various Town departments. BerryDunn is a consulting firm that “uses deep experience and a commitment to knowledge sharing to help clients gain control of the challenges and opportunities that drive value.” Shiel explained that the Town selected BerryDunn as the right choice for Manchester after seeing the firm’s work in Burlington, VT, and the successful results of their Master Plan.


    Your Voice Matters – Get Involved Online Today!

    As a part of a new communications strategy, local public decision-makers are seeking out ways to connect and engage more with residents, as well as offer a variety of ways to inform the public. One of the first initiatives launched as a part of this strategy is a new community engagement tool: Your Voice Matters – Manchester. This platform was piloted in collaboration with the roll-out of the Parks & Facilities Master Plan, as its success relies greatly on community input.

    Your Voices Matters acts as a two-way street. It is not only useful for connecting community members with local officials and providing a direct avenue for voicing perspectives, but also in discovering new ways to inform Manchester residents. After signing up and creating login credentials, users can find updates on the latest projects, project questionnaires, public surveys, and community forums, in which people can post opinions, feedback, and inquiries.

    Your Voice Matters – Get Involved In-Person - “Trick or Treat Parks”!

    Join the Manchester Recreation Division for “Trick or Treat for Parks,” a special family community engagement event happening across Manchester on Saturday Oct, 24th from 9 AM to 11 AM. This family friendly event will offer interactive activities for community members to engage in and give feedback on related to the Parks & Facilities Master Plan. All children in attendance are encouraged to wear costume and will receive a goodie bag upon arrive and leave with mystery activity bag. All those attending and participate are eligible to be entered into a raffle to win one of the following prizes; a bike; an athletic package, creative arts package, & games package, Manchester-Gear Swag.

    This event will follow CDC guidelines – we encourage attendees to wear their masks, keep a safe social distance, and stay home if feeling sick.

    For details on the Trick or Treat for Parks event please visit yourvoicemattersmanchester.com.

    To learn more about the Parks & Facilities Master plan, receive updates, and share your feedback, please visit yourvoicemattersmanchesterct.com and register today!

    ##

    Kyle Shiel, Senior Planner

    Project Manager, Parks and Facilities Master Plan

    860-647-3044

    kshiel@manchesterct.gov


    Gary Anderson

    Director, Planning & Economic Development

    860-647-3044

    ganderson@manchesterct.gov


    Christopher Silver

    Director, Leisure, Family and Recreation

    860-647-3086

    csilver@manchesterct.gov


    Kathy McGuire

    Senior Recreation Supervisor, Recreation Division

    860-647-3087

    kmcguire@manchesterct.gov


    Calvin Harris

    Senior Recreation Supervisor, Recreation Division

    860-647-3088

    charris@manchesterct.gov

  • Why Do a Parks & Facilities Master Plan?

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    Manchester has many parks and recreational assets

    Manchester has twenty-five town-owned parks totaling approximately 685 acres. When you include jointly owned and/or managed properties including Manchester public schools, the Community Y Recreation Center and the Manchester Country Club, this increases to approximately 876 acres. There is also roughly 109 miles of formal and informal trails lying within or directly adjacent to Town.

    Maintaining this number of assets to a high standard involves trade-offs

    Many of these assets are towards the end of their useful life. The Town needs to decide on how to best spend limited resources – what to invest in and where. To ensure these decisions are made fairly and efficiently for all Manchester residents, we need a parks and facilities masterplan to serve as a blueprint for future Town decision makers.

    What About the Schools?

    Many residents have questions about the future of the former schools impacted by recent consolidation efforts – Robertson, Washington, and Nathan Hale. These buildings will not be the primary focus of the parks and facilities masterplan, but they will certainly be discussed and studied as part of the process. The masterplan team and consultant will work closely with the School Repurposing Committee to take their perspectives into account and see if there are opportunities to align visions for the buildings.

    How Can I Get Involved?

    The Town and its consultant partner Berry Dunn will be holding a variety public engagement sessions, including focus groups, a phone survey, online participation and other formats. Social distancing guidelines make gathering in large groups inadvisable, so we will likely do a combination of small in-person group sessions, virtual meetings and other formats to safely gather community input.

    OurParks

    The decisions made during this masterplan process will influence investments in Manchester’s parks and facilities for many years to come. Your input and engagement will help make this a successful process and ensure that the voices of all interested residents are heard.

  • Parks and Facilities Master Plan Process

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    Public Engagement & Visioning

    This portion is an opportunity for Manchester residents to provide their perspectives on park and recreational facilities in Town – what they like, what they dislike and what they would like to change in the future.


    Programming & Trend Analysis

    This portion will assess how well Manchester’s existing programming is meeting the needs of residents and how it may be projected to change in the future as tastes and demographics evolve.


    Trails & Connectivity

    With 109 miles of trails within or adjacent to Manchester, maintaining all of them to a high standard is not viable.



    Assessment & Conceptual Visions

    The Town’s consultant partner will design several conceptual options presenting various alternative future designs for selected sites.



    Funding & Fiscal Analysis

    How much any proposed changes are projected to cost and how to pay for them.



    Implementation Strategy

    A timeline of which projects should be prioritized and how to successfully implement them.