Parks & Recreation Master Plan gets community feedback from Craig residents |

Parks & Recreation Master Plan gets community feedback from Craig residents

Jana McKenzie, of Logan Simpson, speaks to an audience of about 30 regarding potential projects and improvements during a meeting held Wednesday, Aug. 15.
David Tan/staff

CRAIG — The Craig Parks & Recreation Department received community feedback from about 30 people about its master plan on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Center of Craig.

The master plan is currently in phase 2, which entails setting a vision, goals, and choices. According to Jana McKenzie — a representative of Logan-Simpson, the company contracted by the city to help develop the plan — there has been a lot of planning through the years designed to prove Craig’s parks and recreational opportunities, but not a lot of action.

Access to a robust system of parks is important to both current residents and those planning to relocate to Moffat County, McKenzie said. Results from an online survey show resident are evenly split — about 50/50 — on how satisfied they are with the city’s existing parks and recreational opportunities. This is a sign the city needs to do something about improving the quality of those assets, particularly Loudy-Simpson Park, McKenzie said.

The survey indicated residents feel there aren’t enough types of recreation in the county and that more can be done to remedy the situation. Respondents also expressed strong support for building a recreation center and a high degree of satisfaction with special events, such as the Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival.

One of the first things Craig can do is take care of existing facilities, McKenzie said, noting that many local parks lack walking paths, accessibility for people with handicaps, and picnic shelters. She acknowledged that adding some of these features will be expensive, but suggested the investment might be worth it in the longrun.

Other amenities people asked for in the survey included a dog park and an overall renovation of the city pool, McKenzie said.

In her research, which included asking other communities how they maintain their parks and recreational opportunities, McKenzie said she noted other cities are using larger picnic shelters with higher roofs and calling them multi-purpose spaces. Such larger spaced might be used in Craig as  concert venues or even be rented out for weddings and other events, she said.

One problem is locating and securing space for future amenities.

Another is cost.

Acknowledging she is aware neither the city nor the county are in a position to take on large expenses, McKenzie said the problem of financing potential projects will be discussed at a future meeting. She said these projects should be prioritized, and long- and short-terms plans should developed to bring them to fruition.

She acknowledged that come projects would have to be tax-funded, adding that the community will have to decided what it is comfortable paying. Grant funding might be a possiblity for some projects, but McKenzie cautioned most grants require matching funds. Unless a philanthropist who is willing to help fund these projects can be identified, grants will be difficult to secure, she said.

Resident Beth Gilchrist said she wants to see a recreational center, which she said is something Craig needs to revitalize the town. She said she is aware of the cost of operating a rec center, but added that, in her opinion, funding one would not put Craig under.

“There needs to be better (recreational) programs here, too,” Gilchrist said. “They need to be user friendly, so everybody who is interested can get involved.”

She said she doesn’t want higher taxes and hopes better money management will generate the needed funds.

Another resident, John Husband, said any of the proposed plans would help make Craig more livable for current and future residents, noting the economic benefits to be had through improving parks and recreation.

“This is a good step in the right direction in helping Craig,” Husband said.