“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Fairfax County Park Authority wants to make your wishes our goals, and we’re working hard to develop an Agency Master Plan for the entire park system.
The planning process includes the Parks Count Community Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment, which was completed in spring 2016, and has provided input and data from park users and non-users alike. With the help of more than 4,600 survey respondents, dozens of stake holder meetings with the community, open houses, focus groups and Park Board, and using new outreach tools through our website, email and crowdsourcing, we are now in the final phases of our development of a comprehensive park system master plan aimed at meeting the community needs.
Through our data collection and research to date, we have confirmed that our parks are highly valued and are considered extremely important in meeting the high quality of life desired by county residents. We also learned that more funding needs to be allocated and prioritized towards taking care of our existing parks and facilities and that residents rank walking/biking trails; small community parks; swimming pools; swim lessons; and exercise and fitness facilities as their highest priorities. Given this data, the Fairfax County Park Board recently established the following guiding principles for the Park Authority as part of the Park Authority Master Plan:
- Inspire A Passion For Parks
- Advance Park System Excellence
- Meet Changing Recreation Needs
- Be Equitable & Inclusive
- Promote Healthy Lifestyles
- Strengthen & Foster Partnerships
- Be Great Stewards
The Park Authority Master Plan core objectives are to:
Incorporate the community input and updated data that has been collected from the planning process into one Agency Master Plan; and create clear direction and strategic alignment for all Park Authority policy, actions, programs, parks and facilities within the Fairfax County Park Authority system of services; and to
Align all major plans under the one Agency Master Plan and ensure consistent direction and service delivery to the community; and by doing so
- Meet the accreditation standards of the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA)
Over the next several months, a team of technical experts, staff and Park Authority leadership will be drafting the initial plan within the guiding principal framework. We’ll be sharing that draft with the public this summer and seeking input on the draft master Plan at that time. In the meantime, stay tuned for more information about the Park Authority and our Agency Master Plan on our website and through emails and social media.
Author Samantha Hudson is a Planner in the Park Authority Planning and Development Division.