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Public input helps shape Strategic Master Plan update

February 8, 2018

A message from Park Commissioner Tim Reid

If you’ve gone to Metro Parks Board meetings, you probably know that public comment time is one of my favorite parts of the evening. As one of five members of the park district’s Board of Commissioners, I like hearing what people have to say about their park system.

In fact, public input is crucial. We want to make sure that we continue to create healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow while adapting to changing needs. Strategic planning also is required for Metro Parks’ continued national accreditation of excellence through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). That’s why, about eight months ago, Metro Parks initiated an update of the strategic plan that will guide our work over the next six years.

This could not have taken place without public input. Each of Metro Parks’ Citizen Advisory Councils participated in the review process. Not only that, but 761 people responded to an online questionnaire about the plan, and dozens of people gave us written comments. They said they want Metro Parks to “be an accountable and responsive agency that listens to and communicates with residents, contributes to a sustainable and livable city, and increases appreciation for stewardship of wildlife and natural resources.”

The plan’s direction is consistent with what we’ve heard from the public. Essentially, it’s to

  • achieve equity in everything we do
  • become a regional leader in sustainable practices
  • prioritize fiscal responsibility

This strategic vision is linked to a long list of tactics, which you can read online. I’ll just mention a few highlights here. One outstanding one is to put future parks and programs within a 10-minute walk of all residents’ homes.  Another is to ensure our workforce reflects our community. A third is to put a priority on meeting the needs of the underserved, particularly children.

The plan also commits to efforts to improve community health, expand transportation options and invest in technology to benefit Metro Parks users.

We share a wonderful park and recreation system. With input from the public and by following a strategic plan, it’s bound to get even better.

So please keep engaging with your park district. Let us know how we’re doing, and when we ask you to weigh in on one topic or another, please do. We want to represent all the residents of Tacoma.

Tim Reid is a Tacoma native who has been a member of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners since 1995. He is a past board president and serves on its Joint Municipal Action Committee and on a joint committee with Tacoma Public Schools.