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Park board begins work on new master plan

Over the next 10 months, the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will be working on its next 10-year master plan. 

The park board agreed to a $190,385 contract with Upland Design at its June 18 meeting. The firm will work through four phases:

  • Data inventory and analysis.
  • Outreach and community needs assessment.
  • Plan and offer recommendations for development and a final master plan.
  • An action plan for the board to accept and adopt a new master plan.

“The master plan is any agency’s North Star and should be used for years to prepare for what comes next for the (park district),” said Executive Director Doug Boehm. “We are excited and ready to begin the process.”

The last master plan was done in 2010, with an update in 2019.

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“This isn’t something that you do and put on the shelf…It becomes our driving force,” said Brent Bachus, the board’s president. 

Upland Design started work on the master plan on June 24 collecting various pieces of data and drawing analyses from park operations. Upland Design staff will be asking the H-F community for its input during needs assessment meetings to be conducted between Sept. 25 and Jan. 24.

With all this information in hand, Upland staff will move into Phase 3 developing a preliminary draft that will be shared with the park board and then presented at an open house public meeting in April. 

Upland will make changes to the document and present the park board with a final master plan document in May.

During a planning session in April before the board accepted the Upland Design proposal, Bachus said he liked the idea of a community input consensus report. The report would ask for input from other stakeholders, including the schools and village governments. He said it also would give the park board a chance to share its information with those other government bodies.

“I think (a master plan) is super valuable not only for the board but for the operations and where we’re at, and resources and what’s really important to the community,” said commissioner Steve Johnson at that meeting. He cautioned that the plan should not go overboard on long-range ideas that would be out of line with the park district’s budget. He told commissioners they should “keep it real.”

Commissioner Angie Coderre said she would want the park district to find a way to emphasize the positives about happenings in the parks and park district activities. She relayed hearing from residents that they didn’t know about events or programs. She wants to find a way to counter that. Coderre hopes resident surveys may give the park district some new ideas on how to get information to the community.

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