Apr 27, 2012
“It’s like taking a puzzle and seeing how many pieces can fit together to please everyone within a budget,” says Chris Bryan, a Recreation senior in Steve Martin’s Environmental Planning Workshop class. The class is working on the master plan for Redwood Community Park and the Arcata Marsh, a document that will determine how these public spaces will be used for the next decade.
The Parks and Recreation Master Plan will create goals and policies to guide the city of Arcata as it develops and enhances its parks, trails, recreational facilities and open spaces in the next 10 years. The new plan will replace the current version, drafted in 1979. Martin, chair of the Environmental Science and Management department, also serves on the Parks and Recreation Committee for Arcata. When the project came up, he jumped at the opportunity to get his students involved.
During the process, students formed two groups, one for the park, the other for the mash. They are assisting in all facets of developing the plan, from facilitating public meetings, to gathering public input, to creating the plan and presenting it to the city.
“One of the main things we’re doing is figuring out what’s important to users of these recreation sites,” says student Lee Manis, who works on the community park plan.
Some requests from the community include more public restrooms, expanded facilities to host events such as weddings, and a summer camp program in partnership with local schools.
The community suggestions have planners anticipating a growing population and a greater use of the park and marsh. It could also reflect the current economic climate, Bryan says. “As the cost of travel increases, people are looking to their backyards for recreation.”
With the planning set to wrap up at the end of the semester, Martin’s students are grateful for the hands-on experience.
“It’s terrific hands-on practice. I’m about to graduate, so this is a great way to stay on track,” says Bryan.