The Oshkosh Parks Dept has announced an input session for May 26, 2011 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm at city hall room 404. This meeting is part of a broader effort for Parks as they work to assemble an updated parks plan. Residents are also encouraged to complete the park dept's survey, which is available here.
Here are a few requests that our parks programming should consider:
1. Shoreland Restoration. We wrote a bit about it back in 09/10, with no visible progress thus far. You may recall that the restoration of our shoreland, in particular along Miller's Bay, was a specific recommendation of the Onterra study. This is also supported by the broader community, as demonstrated in the highly valuable Vision Oshkosh survey in which respondents were in strong favor of a natural vegetative buffer along our waterways. UWO is also starting the process of restoring their shorelines with natural growth which reflects its committment to sustainable practices and protection of our valuable natural resources. The city's Sustainability Advisory Board assembled an excellent report on the topic, but received a disinterested response from the parks department. This topic is certain to come back to the table this summer.
2. Neighborhood Parks. There are regions across the city in which there is no close access to park space, with many neighborhoods requiring a 30 minute walk involving the crossing of multiple high-traffic roadways. Parks offer a safe, healthy and outdoor space for kids to be engaged in fun activities. Without access to these parks, kids are often left without a proper outlet for their time and energy. This is a common sense proposal that the police department should be clamoring about. Residential neighborhoods really should have access to a playground with less than a 15 minute walk, and the city needs to make this a priority. Parks increase property value, provide healthy family activity spaces, build neighborhoods, and can play an important part in crime reduction.
|Menominee Zoo ~ City of Oshkosh|
3. More Park Space. Despite our excellent existing park spaces, the city of Oshkosh is still significantly behind the accepted standards for park space per population - a notion confirmed in the existing parks plan. In fact, to bring us up to this standard, we need to include all school property in our land count. Let's be honest with this deficiency, and actively look to expand our city's green spaces.
4. Railings. Any parent of young kids knows it - we need railings.
5. Tell them that the terrace tree planting program in partnership with OACF is great!
6. Incorporate the Park's Board. When the city went to build its water pump in Menominee Park, it did so without first consulting the parks board. Only after receiving numerous complaints and requests, the proposal was finally brought to the parks board. This was a big decision, which at no point should have been formulated without the input of our valuable citizen volunteers.