Community input sought for recreation plan

Published 9:18pm Monday, February 4, 2013

Polk County recreation board members invite county residents to provide input during a community meeting Monday. Feb. 11 as a means of kicking off work on the 2013 Polk County Recreation Plan.

“This is a jumping off point to make sure we are going in the right direction from the beginning of this effort,” said Karyl Fuller with Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC).

Polk County commissioners voted in October to award a $6,000 contract with IPDC to create a master recreation plan for the county.
Recreation board members already conducted a survey in 2011, which asked residents what they wanted to see the recreation department add to its offerings.

The top five responses from the 2011 survey included a desire for an indoor pool, picnic sites, biking and walking trails, and public canoe
access. Fuller said IPDC intends to make sure those wishes are still out there and that a wide spectrum of the community is represented.

She mentioned, for example, that within the demographic profile of those who answered the survey only two and a half percent were
over the age of 65. More than a quarter of Polk County’s population, meanwhile, is 65 and older.

“We’re also planning to do a few focus groups to make sure we get as many opinions as possible,” Fuller said. “We want to cover all
ages and all interests. I know there are a variety of groups out there who have a strong opinion about what the county needs. We want to
make sure we address all of them.”

One of the key points to doing the master recreation plan, Fuller said, is to get funding to assist in making these projects come to fruition.

“What we hope to do after the plan is completed is to seek grants. Having a master plan helps you access more money,” she added.

The group will host a gathering Monday, Feb. 11 from 4-8 p.m. at the ICC-Polk campus in Columbus.

This is a drop-in event. Fuller said there would be a kiosk set up with maps showing where facilities are currently located. She said several
people from the recreation board would also be on hand to talk with community members about their ideas.

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