City of San Marcos Approves Parks Master Plan

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Last month, the City of San Marcos approved a plan that will guide the future development of parks and recreation facilities in the city into the future. The Parks Master Plan, which is based on national standards, assessed the city’s future growth and determined the park and recreation infrastructure that will be needed to support our current high standards for parks. While this is just an initial step in the planning process for our future recreation facility needs, the Parks Master Plan is a significant milestone toward ensuring that the city continues to provide a variety of recreational opportunities that support the high quality of life in San Marcos.

The city’s Parks Master Plan was originally adopted in 1990. The current effort to update the Plan was led by the citizen Parks and Recreation Commission and the Parks and Recreation Department of the city. The Plan, which is based on national standards from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), was developed with significant community outreach, including data from a community-wide telephone survey and feedback from two town hall-style meetings. Outreach also included focus groups with the Trails Advisory Committee, members of the equestrian community, the arts community, older adults at the Senior Activity Center, the Friends of San Marcos Parks and Recreation, the San Marcos Youth Sports Council, and the San Elijo Hills Women’s Club. The outreach process was extensive and provided opportunities for all segments of the San Marcos community to participate.

The Parks Master Plan identifies potential improvements to the parks system, and as funding becomes available, suggests additional amenities for new parks and improvements to existing park facilities. The Plan is built on the assumption that the city population will reach 110,000 residents by 2035. It recommends the number and types of facilities needed to meet the needs of this future population. While there are numerous recommendations in the 150-page Plan, some specific improvements and additional facilities recommended include: seven tennis courts, three basketball courts, a minimum of two playground facilities, a minimum of two additional adult multi-user field and two youth multi-use fields, three diamonds fields, service improvement to the aquatics facilities, and 20,400 square feet of additional gym space.
In approving the Plan, the Council emphasized that it was a positive first step in planning for our future park needs, but that more detail regarding the exact types, location and nature of the facilities needed to be planned as well. It directed city staff to come back in June 2018 with additional recommendations.  Also, the Plan identifies more than $50 million in park and recreation infrastructure needs through 2035. Specific sources of that funding have not yet been identified. That means, in addition to planning the location and types of facilities needed, the city must also address how to pay to build and maintain the facilities to a high standard.

While there is considerable work to be done to reach the goals of the Parks Master Plan, the adoption of the Plan is a positive step toward for continuing the long San Marcos tradition of having the most diverse and well thought out parks and recreation facilities available.

You can download a copy of the Parks Plan Update at www.san-marcos.net. Just search for Parks Update.