Kent Parks and Rec needs community feedback to guide upcoming investments

Image of fall foliage and a walkway at a Kent park
Tannery Park. Image via Kent Parks and Recreation Department

The Kent Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you.

The department will host a Community Engagement Survey from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Roy Smith Shelter House at 601 Middlebury Road in Kent. The purpose of the forum is to gain community input for Parks and Rec’s upcoming master plan.

Following a short introduction to begin the event, attendees will be given stickers that can be attached to posters illustrating activities, events and facilities they would like to see in the area. Examples include youth athletics, childcare programs, fitness classes, senior programming, annual special events, splash pads, pickleball courts, recreation centers, dog parks, and other indoor or outdoor recreational spaces.

Participants will also be given $1,000 in play money to distribute among boxes to determine how Parks and Rec should be investing its money. Choices include new parks or facilities, existing facilities, dog parks, indoor recreation, athletic fields, trails, aquatic center, programs, and “other.”

For that last one, people can write what they like and insert their card into that box.

With the community’s priorities clarified, Parks Director Angela Manley and the Parks and Rec board believe they will have better guidance as to the direction people would like the department to go.

Parks and Rec staff will take questions and comments at the open house, while copies of the department’s Master Plan Survey, a paper packet containing questions, will be available for attendees. The survey questions ask what people would like to see new or upgraded, and how often they use or attend parks facilities, programs and events. Also included in the anonymous survey are demographic questions and opportunities to rate events, programs and facilities.

The survey is available online by emailing [email protected].

The Dec. 8 Community Engagement Survey is the second such event that Parks and Rec has hosted this year. The first, which staff said was not as well attended as they would have liked, was held Oct. 27.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.