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Master Plan Study SessionCentral Records City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department MEMORANDUM r/~~" \~~ ~l TO: Pazks and Recreation Advisory Boazd FROM: Jan Geden, CPRP, Duector of Parks and Recreation Jeff Lakey, Supermtendent, Pazks and Recreauon Planning and Development Cate Bradley, Planner SUBJECT: Master Plan Study Session DATE: May 7, 2004 In advance of our study session on the Pazks and Recreation Master Plan scheduled for May 17 from 5- 7:30 PM, we aze providmg you wrth an agenda outLnmg the major topics to be covered and some background mformation wluch may help you to prepaze for the discuss~on. Based on your feedback at the Boazd retreat m Apnl and conversations with our Master Plan Commrttee members, Susan Osborne a~d Tom Sanford, we will focus the upcoming study session on identifymg the "big ideas" wh~ch should drive the Master Plan. These ma~or themes would help orgamze the overall document and would be reflected in the pohcies and recommendations of the plan Many, if not all, should grow out of the trends analysis and the ident~ficauon of strategic issues. AGENDA Review and revise agenda. (5 mmutes) Discussion of trends analys~s (15 nunutes) • Are there any additronal trends you beheve will have a significant impact on the provision of parks and recreation services over the next five to tea yeazs~ Discussion of strategic issues (15 mumtes) • Are there any addIIional strategic ~ssues wh~ch you believe should be considered in the development of the plan~ • Are there any issues identified wh~ch you believe are not sufficiently important to be addressed m the plan~ 4. What would you identify as the top three to five "big ideas" or ma~or themes which should become the foundauon of the plan? (one hour) • How does each of these ideas grow out of the trends and strategic issues (or if not, what is the source)? • How would each of these ideas mfluence departmental pohcies~ • How would each of these ideas be reflected m the plan recommendations~ • How could these ideas be expressed m the mission and vision statements~ Discuss~on and Board comments on the proposed new Park Services Guidehnes. (30 minutes) Ma~or proposed changes from the exisung standards mclude • A shifr m ternunology from "standazds" to "guidelines" m order to provide more flexibilrty for a case by case analysis • A change m the defimtion of neighborhood parks from a nummum size of five acres to a itunimum size of three acres • A discussion of the factors which will be cons~dered m determmmg whether or not acquisition of a new pazk ~s wananted • A revised pohcy on pazk land acquisrtion m commercial areas. 6 Next steps (10 mmutes) Please bring your copies of the existing Master Plan in case we need to refer to it and also your copies of the draft expanded Master Plan outline (included in your March 29 PRAB packet.) You may want to review m advance Appendix A, Gu~dmg Pnnciples, Appendix B, Vision Statement, Appendix C, Policies and Appendix E, Level of Serv~ce Standards, which may be found m the Technical Appendix of the Master Plan. In addition, the wrrent mission statement may be found on page three of the Master Plan Executrve Summary Attachments: A Trends Analys~s (drafr) B Strategic Issues Identification (mternal workmg document) C. Park Serv~ces Guidelmes (draft revision) Attachment A Boulder Parks & Recreation Master Plan Fountainhead Communications, TRENDS DRAFT, 5.7.04 Boulder Demographic Profile Followmg aze some key findmgs with imphcauons for the Boulder Pazks & Recreation Department. Data used mclude Caty of Boulder. A Demographic Profile, issued m April 2004 by the Department of Housmg & Human Services, and C~ry of Boulder Census 2000 Populataons, Households, and Hous~ng, prepared by the Boulder Planmng Department (Please note both reports aze based on yeaz 2000 U S Census data, which are self-reported The City has challenged the Census data as underestunatmg the population by 8,000 people ) Population increase. Boulder's population oF 103,216 m 2002 was expected to mcrease to 107,833 by 2010, accordmg to the Denver Regional Council of Governments The city grew by 13 6 percent from 1990 to 2000, representmg the lazgest numencal growth smce 1970 Boulder's 2020 pro~ected population is 126,530. Aging of population The number of BoulderIIes m the 45-59 age group mcreased substantially from 1990 to 2000--neazly IS percent to neuly 22 percent. The population over age 65 remamed stable between 1990 and 200~10 8 percent In 2000, this represented 7,500 people The number of seniors is expected to increase m the future as the Baby Boomers age and hve longer Boulder's median age-35 m 2000-is expected to peak at 51 m 2030 Fewer families, many single parent fainilies, and many parents in the labor force. Fam~hes dechned from 46 percent of all households m 1990 to 42 percent m 2000. A substantial percentage-nearly one-quarter-of famihes with children under 18 ue smgle-parent famil~es Most smgle pazents (83 percent) aze m the labor force For children m two-parent households, 60 percent have both pazents m the labor force Fewer children. The percentage of children ages 14 and under decreased sl~ghtly between 1990 and 2000 The percent of the populauon under age 18 decreased shghfly also, from 20 9 percent m 1990 to 19.9 percent m 2000 Ttus represents neazly 14,000 children under 18 m 2000 High level of education. Overall, Boulder's populatron is tughly educated, and becommg more so. In 2000, 86 percent of the population had some college, and over two-thuds had a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree National estimates are 26 percent wIIh at least a bachelor's degree About 5 percent of Boulder's population had less than a lugh school diploma The rich and the poor. Boulder's median mcome continues to be higher than the state and the nat~on, and trends toward becommg even wealth~er. The median family mcome for Boulder/Longmont in 2002 was $87,900, the median for Colorado was $58,000 and for the U S,$53,70Q accordmg to the U.S Department of Housmg and Urban Development. In recent years, however, Boulder also had a higher poverty rate than the nation. The national poverty rate was estimated at 11 7 percent m 2001 and 12 1 percent m 2002 In 200Q the most recent yeaz the Census studied, about 14 percent of Boulder's population, excludmg college students, had mcomes below the poverty level In 2000, the median mcome for whrte residents was $44,402; for Latmos of any race, it was $20,110. Growth of Latino population. Boulder's Latino population neazly doubled between 1990 and 2000, mcreasmg from 4 percent to over 8 percent. About half of the Latino commumty were born outside the U S Two-thuds of the foreign-bom arnved smce 1990; about 85 percent of them are from Mexico Some 27 percent of the Latmo commumty had mcomes below poverty level m 2000 Over 26 percent were under 18, compazed to 20 percent of the general population About one-tturd of the Latmo population reported not speakmg English well or at all. Influence of Demographic Trends on Recreation Trends Boulder pazallels national uends m a number of ways. A physically act~ve populauon is more likely to have higher levels of mcome, education, soc~al status, and physical abilities relauve to theu ages, accordmg [o Jotm R Kelly and Rodney B Wazmck m Recreation Trends and Markets• The 21s` Century Certainly Boulder fits this demographic profile Here are five trends our commumty faces, and some issues that should be considered. 1) More active seniors. The long-term uend m the United States is towazd an older population The Census Bureau estimates that the age-65 and older population will more than double from 34 rrull~on m the yeaz 2000 to 70 rmllion m 2030. Compared to previous generations, these semors aze more likely to be m good health and active, with higher education and mcome levels The 50-plus age groups will be recogmzed as growmg markets for recreauon goods and services, say Kelly and Warnick. "The higher activrty levels and greater financial resources of the ret~red will brmg mcreased attention to the `active old' as recreation participants," they say. While most retued adults "age m place" m thev home commumties, a s~gmficant number spend all or part of the year m envuonments that encourage actrvIIies such as walkmg, fishing, and golf. Parks & Recreat~on does not track program participants by age, except for rec center memberships, which ask for bu-thdates and offer reduced fees for semors In 2001, the f~rst (partial) yeaz Parks & Recreation mstituted membersh~p, the department issued 268 membership (punch cazd or annual) passes for people 65 and older. In 2003, 1,457 semors purchased passes. The popularrty of senior classes m yoga, weight-traznmg, and other activities conhnues to grow 2) More single-parent and two-parent families working. This has imphcat~ons for children as well as parents. Parents may have budget hmitations and httle time to engage 4 in fitness achvrties and programs, which could reduce participation levels m fee-based programs Kelly and Warmck say non-family le~sure sethngs and organization will become more important due to demograph~c changes and the long "post-parental" penod of the family With many cluldren experiencmg some period of smgle parentmg, and schools reducmg subsidized actrvity programs, pubhc and pnvate commumty programs that provide venues for children and youth to engage m skills-based acuvities such as sports and the arts will conunue to grow. At least for the affluent, they say, fam~hes may provide more financial than personal support 3) More at-risk children. Boulder's higher-than-average poverty rate actually improved somewhat for children and youth (population under 18), from 14 3 percent m 1990 to 12.8 percent m 2000 But among Latmo children and youth, the poverty rate ~s higher- about 13 percent of Boulder's poor are Latrno, and a greater proportion of those residents are young A 2004 survey of Boulder County teens developed by the U.S Centers for D~sease Control and Prevention and conducted by the Boulder County Public Health Department found that almost half of high school students were dnnkmg alcohol, and about a third were bmge drinkers More than half of local high school seniors had tned mari~uana and had sex S~xteen percent had attempted suicide, compazed to 11 percent statewide The trend towazd leavmg children unsupervised for larger penods of time is one factor m Boulder's mcreasing number of at-nsk youth. Boulder has a greater percentage of at-risk children and youth than a decade ago because of addIIional factors such as more alcohol and substance abuse, sexual activity, and mental health problems, accordmg to Boulder's Department of Housmg and Human Services, which is analyzmg data for rts own master plan update. There is a growmg need for activrties for children and youth that could mitigate at-nsk behav~or, such as recreational programs, afrer-school actrvrties, and programs that help build self-esteem 4) More Latino/non-native-speaker residents. How Pazks & Recreatron does outreach and provides sernce to non-native-speaker communities may be significantly different because of language barners and cultural differences The needs and uses of pazks and recreahon facilrties may be different, as well The Latmo commumty, for example, tends to use pazks and picmc shelters frequently for large family gathermgs on weekends and hohdays For the growmg number of Latmo youth, recreation programs and acUviries aze needed that could help mtegrate youth mto commumty 5) Increasing competition from other municipal and private fitness/recreation centers. One trend reported by the Recreauon Drvision is mcreased compeuuon from facilIIies m other commumties, such as new mdoor-soccer facilities m Boulder and the Apex Center m Arvada with two NHL ice nnks, and mdoor water amusement pazk, and three gymnasiums Competition from both pnvate and other municipal facihties, especially those m communrties whose tax revenues are mcreasing and can subsidize programs and facihties, is one factor m a recent loss m user fees Park and Recreation Use Trends 2001 City of Boulder Facilities Needs Assessment The 2001 Crty of Boulder Faciht~es Needs Assessment provides mformation that will be used m deterrrunmg future pazk and recreation needs and estabhshes a basis for future park planning efforts. The primary focus of the needs assessment is the City of Boulder, mcluding Area II (azeas ad~ommg the city that aze planned for future annexation). Boulder's 2001 service area population, mcludmg Areas I and II, was 114,413. Boulder's 2020 pro~ected populauon is 126,530 Among the mne subcommumties comprising Boulder, the three wrth the highest projected population growth by 2020 mclude North Boulder at 32 percent, Crossroads at 30 percent, and Southeast Boulder with a 27 percent growth rate. The needs assessment reported the followmg trends that will impact Boulder's Parks and Recreation system by 2020 • Sunoundmg commumties such as Louisville, Lafayette, Broomfield, Supenor, Longmont, and Ene have had sigmficant growth m the last 10 years and aze pro~ected to contmue to grow • Enrollment m most city-sponsored recreation programs and sports acuvities is nsmg. • The use of pazks and recreation facil~ties has resulted m increased mamtenance and repau costs • There has been a sigmficant mcrease m use and user fees for public school fields • Local and regional population is contmumg to grow and will mcrease the demand for mdoor and outdoor recrea[ion facilit~es. • Many nonresidents seek to use pazks and recrea[ion facilrties m Boulder, 13 percent of all users at the Boulder recreation centers are nonresidents • An exceptionally high number of Boulder residents (90 percent) pazticipate m recreational acuvities • Boulder's population is agmg, but remammg actrve • Vacant land m the city service area is becommg more scazce and expensive A benchmark survey that compares Boulder's parks and recreation facilities to six other compazable cities is available m the Appendix as part of the needs assessmenYs regional analys~s As part of the commumty participation process, the needs assessment mcluded mformation gathered at focus groups, mterv~ews wrth commuruty leaders and stakeholders, a public open house, and a survey mailed to 3,000 Boulder residents Results from the survey, a GIS service azea analysis, the benchmazk analysis, and mterv~ews, focus groups and the public workshop were used to develop recommendat~ons for new facilII~es. Several pnonty groups were determined Priority A. a center/gym, a dog pazk, an ice-skatmg nnk, prograrmned multi-use fields, and a swimming pool Prionty B community gardens, cross-country ski trail, sof[ball fields, and tennis courts Prionty C baseball fields, bike-racmg facilrty, group shelters, and playgrounds. More detailed recommendations are mcluded m the needs assessment m the Appendix 2001 City oF Boulder Parks and Recreation Survey Results The vast ma~ority-83 percent-of 817 households responding to the 2001 Caty of Boulder Parks and Recreatzon Survey Results said they were "very satisfied° or "satisfied" with the qualrty of city parks, 71 percent with the quahty of recreauon facilities, and 58 percent wrth recreation programs There were equal numbers of male and female respondents, and the~r age groups corresponded wrth Boulder's population. Respondents tended, more than Boulder's population, to be wtute, nonLatmo, hve withm city linuts, and own theu home Sixty percent of respondent households made more than $50,000 a year Boulder ~s unusual compared wIIh other parks and recreat~on programs nationwide because of IIs extensive nontraditional programs, such as dance, yoga, and Pilates. The arts programs mclude actrviues such as pottery and photography The EXPAND program ~s a national leader, offermg therapeutic fitnesshecreation programs and actrvities for people with disabilities, from bowhng and weight-lif[mg to tnathalon trammg and adventure activrt~es Wrth more than 300 days of sunshine a yeaz, Bouldentes take to the outdoors for many recreational activities The vast ma~ority (95 percent) of respondents used city pazks. Usmg the cIIy park closest to home is a trend among both adults and children Among adults, 81 percent m 2001 said they used the crty park closest to theu home, compared to 66 percent m 1996 Responses from children wrthm the households mdicated 92 percent m 2001 used the city pazk closest to theu home, compazed to 40 percent m 1996. The most popular activities, accordmg to the 2001 Caty of Boulder Parks and Recreation Survey, were walkmg, hikmg, runnmg/~oggmg, bicychng, and picmckmg For example, mne out of ten respondents mdicated they walk for exercise, and about half said they walked at least once or twice per week. One m four respondents ran or ~ogged, and one in five hiked at least once or twice a week The most popular (at least once or twice a week) facihty-based activ~ties were swimming, weight trammg, cardio traznmg wrth machmes, fitness classes, yoga, tenms, dance, martial arts, and pooUbilliazds/snooker Yoga participation more than doubled from 1996 to 2001, and generated some $250,000 m registration fees m 2003. Respondents mdicated the groups rt was "very importanP' to provide programs for were • teenagers(73 percent) • children (67 percent) • semor adults (64 percent) • people with disabilities (60 percent) • beginner levels (58 percent) • low-income residents (53 percent) • adults (50 percent) • mtermediate levels (42 percent) • famihes together as a group (29 percent) • advanced or ehte levels (24 percent) The needs assessment compazed responses from 1996 and 2001, findmg mcreased frequency m activ~ties and classes such as• • Yoga • Frtness lessons/classes • Athletidsports lessons/classes • Outdoor activities, mcludmg hilnng, chmbmg, nature studies, and bud watchmg • Ultima[e Frisbee and disc golf • Swimnung for fitness • Cardio trammg with machmes • Outdoor shuffleboard, croquet, and horseshoes Dechnes m frequency were mdicated for actrvIIies and classes such as • In-]me or roller skaung • Baseball and softball • Volleyball • Horseback ndmg Among the responses regardmg the elements that were "very importanP' m desigmng new urban pazks and refurbishmg old ones were trees (71 percent), connection to bike paths and greenways (68 percent), wildhfe corndors (59 percent), b~ke racks (51 percent), natural areas wrth natrve landscapmg (44 percent), and benches (43 percent) The most important new or addrtional programs or facihties that Parks & Recreation could offer were an area to exercise dogs off leash, an mdoor swimmmg pool, commumty gazdens, mdoor fitness/weight traimng facilities, cross-country ski trails, an outdoor ~ce- skaUng ru~k, and outdoor soccer fields Several of these "w~sh-hsP' IIems have been built smce 2001, as discussed m Chapter I Policy Implications Changes m demographics and recreatron trends have pohcy impl~cations that Pazks & Recreauon may need to address, such as: Need for community connections. Boulder is becommg a retuement destmation, and residents m general tend to have moved here from somewhere else. Many do not hve here long-term Programs that help foster commumty connections, relatronships among neighbors, and bonds between youth and elders aze particulazly important Changes in park and recreation programs and facilities and their uses. Increasing numbers of smgle-parent fanuhes and fanuhes wIIh both pazents working, for example, may mean more youth needing after-school, evenmg/weekend, and summer programs. Increasmg populations of LaUno and other non-natrve English-speakmg families may requue changes m certam programs, services, and faciliues Collaborations with other agencies, organizations, and individuals. The need for supportive programs and the scazcity of resources may requ~re more collaborahon with other city agencies, such as Mountam Pazks and Open Space Boulder's urban parks and recreation facilrties already reheve some user pressure on open space and mountam pazks, and with competi[ion becommg keener far fundmg sources such as state lottery money, the two agencies would do well to mform and complement each other's efforts Helpmg at-risk children and youth may requue workmg more closely wrth Boulder's Health and Human Services Department and the Boulder County Public Health Department. Parks & Recreation also should collaborate more extensively with the Boulder Valley School District, commumty agencies such as the YMCA, and organ~zations m sports and the arts The use of volunteers should be funher developed. Greater gap between the rich and poon Boulder is trendmg toward wealttuer households on one end of the economic scale and more low-mcome households on the other. Tkus mcome disparity may have imphcations for Pazks & Recreation programs and services. For example, do fees and types of services compete wrth prrvate clubs and activrties favored by more affluent residents~ Do they aim for middle-mcome res~dents~ Or do they offer affordable recreat~on opportumties for lowerancome residents~ Finally, do they try to appeal to and accommodate all residents~ Imp¢ct of new technologies. Pazks & Recreahon is usmg technology such as computer~zed urigat~on systems, global positiomng systems, and automated, web-based communications and program registration The Forestry D~v~sion has created a data base on all street trees and pazks, wh~ch eventually will be accessible on the web How might technology be used to further ~mprove serv~ces~ 9 Attachment B STRATEGIC ISSUES DRAFI' October 10, 2003 City-wide planning/policy issues: The move towazd allowmg residenhal uses m mdustnaUretail zones may ~mpact pazk standazds and design character for parks m these azeas. The mterest m economic revrtalization may result m pressures on P&R to acquire/develop parks m areas expenencmg redevelopment (Gunbarrel, BVRC) The crty policy of providmg affordable housmg may lead to mcreased densrties in some azeas, thus drivmg a need for addIIional park acreage Lazger houses on smaller lots may have a similaz effect (for example, feedback from Four Mile Creek neighborhood ) The department has been impacted by cIIy pohcies on IPM, water allocat~on during drought penods, prairie dog management, a new lightmg ordmance, etc The department will need to be proactive m developmg support from PRAB, Council and other city departments m makmg sure that pohcies address P&R Department concerns and aze developed with the full participation of P&R staff and board The mterpretation and enforcement of ADA requuements by HROE and the Crty Attorney's office has sigmficant impacts on the costs of pazk design and development. Demographics: Declinmg numbers of families wrth young children, mcreasmg numbers of m~ddle-aged and older res~dents, Boulder beconung a retuement destination, and mcreasmg numbers of non-Enghsh speaking residents may combme to alter the mix of programs and facilrties which the department should offer The increasmg number of smgle parent families and families in which both pazents work leads to an mcrease m the number of youth at risk and youth m need of afrer-school and summer programs The major pubhc health issue of increasmg obesity rates, especially among ch~ldren, should be addressed with specialized programs Boulder res~dents tend to have moved here from somewhere else and many are not long- term residents In general, there is more isolaUOn and lack of social connection m American society Programs which help foster commumty connections, relationships among neighbors, and bonds between youth and elders are part~culazly important. The lazge number of non-resident employees who commute to ~obs m Boulder may offer additional opportumties to provide recreat~onal services v~a employers and to culhvate busmess sponsorships for employee teams 10 Funding: We are facmg a serious issue with respect to our abihty to mamtam existmg facihties, renovate and restore agmg mfrastructure, improve the design and landscapmg of existmg pazks to better meet current needs and expectations, while also allocating funding for development of existmg undeveloped pazk sites and prov~dmg for over $40 rrulhon in identified recreation facility needs This will requ~re paznful pnorit~zation processes, pubhc education, creative fundmg approaches and partnership development. It may be a challenge to mamtam pubhc support if inembers of the commumty see our services curtailed, our facilrties detenoratmg or theu needs/des~res gomg unmet Developmg partnermg opportumties should be a high pr~ority, potential partners mclude BVSD, CU, Chamber of Commerce, local busmesses, Boulder County, other regional cities, hospitals and non-profits We should strengthen the ability of the Foundat~on to generate fundmg for Department programs and facihties We should work to change the city restnctions which affect our abilrty to cost-effectively pursue smaller grants Technology: The department has been behmd the curve m the use of GIS-based mformation systems which would enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our asset management and planrung We need to do a better ~ob of pro~ecung future resowce needs for renovation and replacement of park landscapmg and amemties as well as recreation Facilities The growmg interest m web-based entertamment and commumcation and computer gaming may decrease participation m orgamzed recreational activrties over the next 5-10 yeazs Environmental issues: Comphance with mandates re. IPM, prau~ie dog management, and biofuels has had a significant impact on costs and the abil~ty to provide the leveUtype of park mamtenance ach~eved m the past Drought management pohcies m place m 2002 also ~mpacted the condition of parks and fields The department will need to look at a new aesthetic for pazk lands as well as how to best allocate mamtenance resources under these conditions Xeriscape plantmgs should be explored for new and renovated landscapes. Envuonmental resources staff will need to be mtegrated with Pazks Mamtenance staff m providmg care of natural lands managed by the department. Replacement of exisUng fields with artificial turf should be explored as a way to address concerns over £ield mamtenance with less water use and fewer maintenance resources 11 Recreation trends: Boulder is a destmation for high-level athletes m competitive runnmg, bikmg, tnathlons, and rock-chmbmg The Department should find ways to leverage the presence of these athletes and the mterest m these sports mto support for the department and rts prograzns. Youth and young adults are mcreasmgly mterested m mdividual, higher-risk sports, such as skateboardmg Older people are mterested m l~fe-long actrvities l~ke walkmg, swimmmg, cychng and lower impact activrties like yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates New/additional programs should be explored to caprtahze on these interests among the growmg older popula[ion. We need a stronger program evaluahon system We need to keep abreast of emergmg recreation trends and mamtain flexibility m programmmg to respond to new mterests as well as evaluate ex~sUng programs relative to the market and find our strongest mche relative to other program providers Other: What would it mean if the Department were "managed as a busmess" as opposed to managed as a pubhc service agency~ What would that mean for revenue producmg versus non-revenue producmg divis~ons? What would be the appropnate mix of revenue- producing versus subsidized programs~ The CAPRA certification process will requ~re a sigmficant mvestment of staff resources to bnng the department mto comphance with the highest management standazds, particularly m the area of mternal pohcy development Employee morale is impacted by declmmg revenues, the prospect of lay-offs and the resource constramts which affect theu abilrty to do theu ~obs. An employee survey would help detemune what achons would best serve to support staff and mamtam produchvity and commitment. We need to address the definition of a"park" and look at how to balance actrve/"passrve" uses, recrearion/contemplation, beauty/functionahty, mnovative design/practicalrty of mamtenance, natural features/staff resources We need to mstrtute a process to evaluate ex~stmg pazks, startmg wrth a p~lot park management pro~ect at Eben Fme park 12 Attachment C PARK SERVICES GUIDELINES The following gmdelines are to be used to help evaluate whether pazk services m existmg neighborhoods aze sufficient m quantity and qualrty; to help deternune the need for new parks to serve new or redevelopmg residential or commercial azeas; and to momtor progress m meetmg departmental goals. The guidehnes take mto account the fact that City of Boulder Open Space and Mountam Pazks, Boulder County Pazks and Open Space, and other pubhc lands provide additional opportumties for Boulder residents to en~oy outdoor recreation On the other hand, the provision of urban pazks and recreahon facilities help to mitigate some of the demand on the more sensitive natural areas m the Boulder Valley Neiehborhood Parks Neighborhood pazks are the most fundamental element of the c~ty's pazk system These parks typically serve residents who hve wIIhm easy walkmg and bikmg distance They provide a focal pomt for neighborhood identity, a gathenng place for friends and family, and opportumties for mformal play as well as a natural settmg for quiet reflection A typical neighborhood park will offer paths and srttmg azeas, places to picmc and throw a Fnsbee, a cluldren's play area, and landscaping which enhances and preserves the natural chazacter of the site The specific features of uidividual parks will be developed based on a design process which mcludes extensive neighborhood part~cipation In order to accompl~sh these purposes, the department will seek neighborhood pazk srtes which ue a rrummum of three acres m size. A neighborhood park will serve residents wrthm a one-half nule radms from the park penmeter, takmg mto account sigruficant barriers to access, such as ma~or roadways or ~mpassable natural features. The department will also seek to prov~de 1.5 acres of public pazk land per 1000 population on a subcommuruty-wide and city-wide basis The need for addrt~onal park land m any given ne~ghborhood will be deternuned based on an evaluation of factors such as the distance to the neazest neighborhood or communrty park, the avazlabihty of private homeowner association pazks serving the azea, access to Open Space/Mountam Pazks lands, the availability of a suitable pazk site, the nature and density of the surroundmg neighborhood, and competmg commumty goals for suitable pazcels. Sites smaller than three acres will be considered where lazger sites cannot be acqu~red. These "pocket parks" will serve residents withm a one-quarter nvle radius Res~dents hvmg wrthm one-half mile of a commumty park are considered to have theu neighborhood pazk needs met Acquisrtion of park land w~ll always be contmgent not only on the availabihty of fundmg for the miual purchase bu[ also resources for development and on-gomg mamtenance of the pazk. 13 Where acquisiuon of additional park land is not feasible, other alternat~ves will be explored, mcludmg long-term lease agreements with the Boulder Valley School District, prrvate schools, churches or child care centers, street closures or transportation right-of- way vacations, ~omt development of privately-owned property; use of mdoor spaces, terraces, rooftops and urban plazas, and des~gns which mcrease the effectrve capacrty of smaller spaces For plamm~g purposes a park service area map will be developed and penodically updated which shows existmg park srtes and theu serv~ce areas and highlights areas which are not currently served This map will also differentia[e between developed and undeveloped pazks Neighborhoods withm the service radms of an undeveloped pazk will be highhghted. The cunent master plan places a high prionty on mvestments m the neighborhood pazk system, mcludmg the development of these undeveloped sites A priorit~zed list of undeveloped pazk sites to be developed over the next ten years is mcluded m the plan recommendations Playgrounds Children's play azeas should be mcluded m pazks wherever size and site characteristics penrut These play azeas may be trad~tional or non-traditional m design. Play elements should address the distmct developmental needs of cluldren up through age 12 Where park playgrounds aze not available, agreements will be pursued with the Boulder Valley School Dis[rict or prrvate schools for the ~omt development, expansion or upgrade of playgrounds located at elementary and middle-school sites. Commercial Areas In new or redevelopmg busmess distncts the prov~sion of crvic space m the form of pocket parks or urban plazas will be encouraged through the city's development review process. These pazks or plazas will ideally form part of an mvitmg pedestrian landscape which connects to a network of bike routes, detached sidewalks, greenways, and pazks The acquisrtion, development and mamtenance of these parks should be funded by the commercial mterests ~n the area via a busmess improvement distnct or other mechamsm that can provide for the on-gou~g caze of these srtes. Where mixed-use developments or redevelopments mclude more than 100 housmg units and aze located outside of the sernce azea of an existmg park, opportunrt~es for providmg a pubhc pocket park will be explored Pazks are an important contnbution to the hvab~hty of mixed use developments Commurutv Parks Community pazks supplement the neighborhood pazk system by providmg space for more active recreational facilrties as well as natural features and elements typical of neighborhood pazks. Our guidelmes call for a commumty pazk within 3.5 miles of all residents, totahng 1 5 acres per 1000 population These guidelmes aze met by the provision of the three existing community parks m Boulder East Boulder Commumty 14 Pazk, Foothills Commumty Park, and Harlow Platt Commumty Pazk No addmonal commumty parks sites will be acquued, although additional development at East Boulder and Foothills is planned City Park City pazks serve the entue commumty. Our guidelmes call for 100 to 300 acres of commumty pazk land which prov~des space for high-mtensity recreational facihues as well as natural areas and features typical of neighborhood and commumty pazks The acqws~tion of the Valmont City Pazk and the Area III site meet this guidelme and no addrtional crty park sites will be acquired Development of portions of the Valmont Crty Pazk is underway The Area III srte will be held m reserve to meet long-term recreational needs. Saecialized Facilrt~es The need for recreation centers, athleric complexes or other specialized fac~lrties is program-based and is documented m the Recreation Facihties Needs Assessment and addressed m the recommendations Given changmg trends m participation levels m various sports over time, as well as changes m commumty demographics and desires, fixed gmdehnes based on the number of facilities per 1000 populahon or the mamtenance of a service level based on past expenence unduly restricts the DepartmenYs flexibilrty to respond to future needs Addrtional land acquisition to meet the needs for recreaUOnal facility development may be desuable if suitable srtes can be located 15