Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Local residents enjoy the walking trails at Mustang Wild Horse Park on Friday. The City is currently working on a 5-year plan for its parks that will include a survey to ask residents what they would like to see in the near future. (Staff photo by Jon Watje)

By Van Mitchell
Contributing Writer

The Leisure Services Board with the City of Mustang’s Park and Recreation Department is in the early stages of developing a five-year Master Park plan and Master Trails program which will serve as a guideline for what the city’s future park and trails system might look like.

Justin Battles, director of parks and recreation for the City of Mustang said the Leisure Services Board is appointed by the city council and serve three year terms.

"They oversee our overall park system and park development," Battles said. "Their main role is to help guide our department into the future looking at planning and existing operations. They make their recommendations to the city council."

The Leisure Services board is currently comprised of Ward 1 representative Cammie Myers; Ward 2- Theresa Flanary; Ward 3 – Lynly Grider; Ward 4- Bob Graham; Ward 5 vacant; Ward 6- Coweta Morrell and at large member-Ray Mier.

Battles said the board is in the discussion stage of mapping out its five-year master plan.

"We are working on a five-year plan that not only identifies the needs of existing parks but also looks to identify some additional areas the board feels needs public parks," Battles said. "Right now we are in the talking stages. We do expect to put some things out to the community via a survey in the mail for what they would like to see. We will also have some public meetings as well. It is a good guide that our Leisure Services board is trying to put together. Anytime you can put a plan in place and have a goal that is in everyone’s best interest."

Battles said some of the early discussion has focused on adding parks on the west side and southeast side of town.

"We have had discussions about some additional parks on the west side of town and southeast side of town," he said. "Those are some areas they have identified as needing parks."

Battles said the board is also mulling ideas for a trails system for the city.

"The goal of the Master Trails would be to identify areas that could benefit from a trails system that would connect businesses and schools to housing," he said. "We would also look at areas where you could get through the city of Mustang without ever having to get on a road by utilizing a trails system. Those are some of the things we are trying to identify."

Battle said Mustang has 15 identified parks but only eight are considered developed parks meaning they include playground equipment, a pavilion, baseball or soccer fields, etc.

Battles said the Parks and Recreation Department continues to make upgrades at city parks where necessary. He said some current projects include concession and restroom work at several parks and the addition of a new fountain for the Elliott Park pond.

Battles said he doesn’t envision putting a bond issue together for future park projects.

He said the city utilizes a park improvement fund that is funded through a city ordinance which requires housing project developers and builders to pay a nominal fee to the city each time a home is built.

Battles said the city also had an ordinance that allowed developers/builders to donate a section of land to the city for future park usage instead of paying a fee but the city council in 2006 put a moratorium on that citing the city didn’t need any more space for parks.

Battles said the Leisure Services board is asking city staff to review that moratorium and see what recommendations they might have about lifting it.

"It is not something we expect to have to put a bond issue," he said. "The process is already set up in our ordinance. When you develop a new addition essentially it is about $100 per home that donated to the park improvement fund. We are looking at trying to lift that moratorium on land donation."

Battles said he is looking forward to working with the board to see what master plan they develop for the city.

"I am excited anytime that our citizens get involved and want to continue to look at ways we could advance parks and recreation and provide quality facilities for our patrons," Battles said. 

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