Nashville seeks input on parks

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Staff Writer

Friday, May 10, 2019

NASHVILLE — People wanting to have a say about what they would like from the Nashville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department have the chance.

That is because a needs assessment survey is posted on the department’s website and on the department’s Facebook page.

Department Director Marguerite Bishop is preparing a master plan to help guide parks, recreation and cultural resources into the future — and she said the survey data is going to be included in the document.

Additionally, Bishop would like to have the data in hand to help her seek money from the state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. More commonly known as PARTF, the fund provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and recreational projects.

"We have been slowly chipping away at things as we go along," Bishop told the Telegram of efforts to try to prepare to applications to PARTF.

Bishop has been the department’s director for approximately 2½ years.

She said the department’s last master plan can be traced back to 2012, but she said the document was written in connection with Stoney Creek Environmental Park, which was constructed on the west side of downtown.

She said the department conducted a needs assessment survey in September 2017 but only received responses from slightly more than 60 people.

As for the current survey, she said the process of seeking feedback began in April and the department has received approximately 300 responses.

"So we are much further along," she said. "We would like to wrap up the survey as quickly as possible. So by the end of May and in the beginning of the new fiscal year, I want to start writing the comprehensive plan."

The survey questions include whether the person is a Nashville resident, what parks the person has visited in the town in the past year and what recreational facilities the person has used the most the past year.

The questions include the reasons the person uses local or recreational programs.

The questions also include what top three amenities and what top three activities or programs are most important.

The questions also include what actions the town could take to improve the parks and recreation system.

And the questions seek input about whether people would be willing to pay additional fees to fund the items most important to them, along with the amount.

The survey form can be linked on the department’s website at http://www.townofnashville.com/community/parks-and-recreation.

Bishop brought up the survey as part of the department’s update at the Nashville Town Council’s recent monthly meeting.

Bishop told the council she needs at least 500 responses so the department can be eligible to apply for larger sources of grant funding in the future.

She also told the council the department is presently overseeing spring sports programs with 230 participants and 20 teams, with the participation being on par with 2018 numbers.

She also said this past autumn, there was a record participation in soccer, with 22 teams.

And she said the department has launched several new programs this year, including two family camp outs, karate classes and adult partner dancing.

And she said to help make the J.W. Glover Memorial Park and Complex more enjoyable, three new water fountains have been installed. May 18 is set for Kids to Park Day.

Kids to Park Day, which is backed by the National Park Trust, is held the third Saturday of each May and emphasizes connecting children and their families with their local, state and national parks.

Bishop told the town council that Kids to Park Day in Nashville is going to be the same day as the last day of the baseball, softball and T-ball seasons.

Bishop called for residents to go cheer one of approximately 230 youths who are going to be participating, then return to Glover park in the evening to enjoy the movie “How to Train Your Dragon.”