South Suburban Board Approves the District's 2017 Master Plan
On May 10, 2017, the South Suburban Board of Directors formally adopted the District’s 2017 Master Plan.
The 2017 Master Plan supports a critical opportunity for SSPRD to build off the energy of new leadership, respond to the needs of SSPRD’s diverse communities and envision how this award-winning system can find fresh ways to implement the SSPRD mission and serve the community.
This effort is South Suburban’s first comprehensive District-wide Master Plan and builds off recent planning efforts including the 2014 SSPRD Gold Medal Citizens Committee Report and the 2013-2015 SSPRD Strategic Plan, and it supports regional planning efforts.
The Plan details four guiding principles for the District and opportunities for improvement to guide South Suburban over the next decade.
Organized by Guiding Principles
Guiding principles are broad initiatives describing what SSPRD aspires to achieve and have evolved out of community engagement and recent foundational planning efforts of the 2014 Gold Medal Citizen Report and 2013 Strategic Plan. Together with these planning efforts, the mission and guiding principles chart a course toward ensuring SSPRD’s long-term sustainability and ability to contribute to the community’s physical, emotional and social welfare.
The Master and Strategic Plans share the SSPRD Mission and four guiding principles:
We aim to consistently create positive experiences for our community. Our most important task is to continuously improve the quality of our offerings and customer service.
We prioritize wellness by offering close-to-home and affordable indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities to a diverse community.
Connect to Nature
We provide access to open space, natural areas, and water recreation while balancing stewardship of these natural resources. Recreating in nature fosters healthy living and provides benefits to emotional and physical well-being.
We support sustainable practices for managing the District’s financial, physical and natural resources. Well-maintained amenities require long-term financial investments. Energy and water efficient operations and maintenance increase our capacity to protect natural resources and invest more in our recreation offerings.
Opportunities for Improvement
For close to 60 years, SSPRD has provided recreation facilities to the community. As the decades pass, facilities age and need repair. Some facilities and properties are also leased and not owned by SSPRD. With limited funds and Front Range construction costs increasing annually, SSPRD must carefully choose projects for upgrades and repair.
Master Plan Prioritization Criteria
The 2017 Master Plan process led to the development of prioritization criteria that SSPRD can use to evaluate future projects and improvements for implementation. Projects that meet the following criteria shall receive higher priority for funding and timing:
- Opportunities with highest community interest or that relate to the community-driven guiding principles: quality first, enrich wellness, connect to nature, and lead sustainability.
- Opportunities with moderate to low impact on maintenance and operations expenses.
- Opportunities that improve facilities that have reached end-of-life usability.
- Opportunities that align with municipal and county partners’ planning efforts.
- Opportunities with the highest impact to address capacity needs.
- Opportunities that offer a high return on investment.
Using the prioritization criteria, the Master Plan details top opportunities for improvement for each guiding principle and outlines a top 10 priority list of potential project types. Below are those recommendations.
- Meet or exceed current maintenance standards for parks, trails, open space, and facilities.
- Renew existing facilities and amenities with upgrades or new amenities to reflect the community’s expectations, to expand capacity and to support the Master Plan guiding principles.
- Invest in replacing assets that can lower long-term maintenance and operations, increase capacity and/or have reached end-of-life usability.
- Reinforce parks, open spaces, trails and recreation facilities as destinations for physical activity and opportunities for all ages and abilities to practice healthy lifestyles.
- Emphasize accessible, diverse and engaging parks, open spaces, trails, and programming for all ages.
- Identify local health organizations, schools, employers, nonprofits, etc. working toward improved community wellness and collaborate with these current and/or potential partners to position parks, open spaces, trails and recreation programs as vital components to SSPRD’s mission of healthy living.
Connect to Nature
- Improve access to nature for all people, seeking to overcome the challenges they experience to spend time in nature.
- Encourage nature to thrive by providing green spaces throughout the suburban area and utilizing ecologically sound management practices.
- Provide programs that connect people to places to encourage discovery, exploration, stewardship, play, admiration and social opportunities.
- Identify and implement water and energy efficiency improvements to help parkland and facilities meet or exceed industry and peer standards.
- Communicate and celebrate sustainability achievements.
Top 10 Potential Project Types
Recreation facility improvements
Active adult amenity and program improvements
Aquatic upgrades and sustainability improvements
Sustainable energy for recreation centers
Indoor athletic fields
Community park and multipurpose field improvements
Expand nature recreation opportunities
Conservation of open space and water resources
Trail connections upgrades and signage
These projects will require careful coordination with regional partners and continued support from the community for sustaining current levels of funding.
To review the Master Plan in its entirety, visit bitly.com/ssprd-master-plan-2017