City adopts 5-year outdoor recreation plan

Plan sets goals and priorities, allows city to seek grant funding
Tim Ryan

SHAWANO — The city of Shawano has adopted a new five-year outdoor recreation plan with priorities set largely by public input, but which projects come to fruition and when will be a question of whether money is available.

The Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, which sets the parks and recreation department’s goals through 2024, was adopted by the Shawano Common Council on Jan. 15.

At an earlier plan commission meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks said the plan would serve as a guideline.

“This provides direction but by no means approves all of these projects in here,” he said.

Hendricks said the plan is important in helping determine where the department spends its time, money and human resources, but is also vital to securing grant money that could help make some of the projects a reality.

“If there’s one single key component that is the largest reason why we do an outdoor rec plan, it’s the possibility to pursue grants and outside funding,” he said.

The plan incorporates public comments from 371 respondents to a parks and recreation survey and was put together with assistance from the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

Any projects that move forward would have to go before the Common Council for approval.

Hendricks noted that the public’s priorities have shifted since the last five-year recreation plan, when improving playgrounds in the city’s park system topped the public’s wish list.

The new survey shows that playgrounds now have a high rate of satisfaction and public desires have shifted to such things as a dog park, more exercise space at the recreation center, more public restrooms and parking, basketball courts, an outdoor swimming pool and volleyball courts.

Other items on the public wish list, according to the survey, included vandal-proofing of fixtures at all parks; fishing piers and canoe/kayak launches; additional benches; hiking and biking trails; rollerblading and inline skating paths; and security lighting and cameras.

The plan outlines priorities for each of the city’s parks, but also includes general improvement plans over the next five years for all parks and trails:

• Evaluate additional restrooms facilities for popular parks

• Additional picnic tables; possibly change to aluminum

• Change trash receptacles from “blue barrels” to punched steel/metal

• Continue to update playground equipment

• Add Wi-Fi to park system

• Athletic field turf reconditioning

• Dog park

• Create a city bicycle and pedestrian plan

• Consider trail linkages through Murray Creek Conservancy

• Create low maintenance paths through the industrial park

• Consider lighting along all pedestrian trails