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Public comment sought on Erie County parks master plan

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Tue, Oct 16th 2018 07:25 pm
Plan intended to establish framework for preservation, enhancement of existing system; Public comment period follows stakeholder meetings at county parks, parks user survey
The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, in conjunction with the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, announced a public comment period to solicit public input on the updated Erie County parks master plan. The plan was initiated in 2016 and is intended to create a framework for preservation, enhancement and improvement of existing parks assets and landscape settings over the next 15-20 years.
Seven stakeholder meetings were held at various county park locations during the drafting of the plan, with 65 stakeholder groups providing input and ideas. This information was incorporated into the draft plan along with the results of a parks user survey that was mailed to a random sample of 5,000 county residents in 2017.
"Our Erie County parks are a treasure that we carefully steward today to protect and maintain for generations yet to come," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. "Completing the parks master plan will give us a roadmap to a healthy future for the parks, identifying assets and areas that residents most enjoy and want to see more of while also recognizing the best ways of preserving these natural assets in a way that promotes ecological health across the system. The public comment period will allow all county residents an opportunity to join the conversation as together we shape our parks for years to come."
Additional public meetings on the parks master plan are scheduled for:
•Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to noon at Chestnut Ridge Park Casino, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park
•Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to noon at Ellicott Creek Park Friendship House, Creekside Drive, Tonawanda
•Thursday, Nov. 15, 6-8 p.m. at Como Lake Park Casino, 2220 Como Park Blvd., Lancaster.
Attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the plan and submit specific park recommendations. The full plan can be reviewed HERE, with online public comment on the plan accepted through Dec. 17. Hard copies of the Plan are available at the following locations:
  • Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, 10th Floor, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo
  • Orchard Park Public Library, S-4570 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park
  • Newstead Public Library, 33 Main St., Akron
  • Lancaster Public Library, 5466 Broadway, Lancaster
The plan provides recommendations to improve each park along with systemwide recommendations and guidance concerning partnerships to improve park maintenance and operations, improving public communications around park features and events, and preservation and restoration of natural systems and heritage features.
Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Daniel Rizzo said, "Participating in these public comment events gives park users a chance to talk about what is important to them, what they'd like to do differently or how they would improve the parks for the future. Thousands of people use the parks annually for a multitude of recreational pursuits, so we encourage parks enthusiasts to participate in the comment period either at one of the public meetings or online so we can include as many ideas as possible in the final plan."
Seven stakeholder meetings involving 65 stakeholder groups were held at Emery Park, Chestnut Ridge Park, Sprague Brook Park, Ellicott Creek Park, Como Lake Park and the Mutual Riverfront Park Museum. Individual meetings with a number of park user groups and municipalities on park-specific issues or specialized park amenities were also held throughout the process, as were interviews with staff to provide information about parks, recreation facilities and services, and insights regarding the current practices and experiences of the county in serving its residents and park visitors.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/; on the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/.

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