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PLANNING PROCESS

This Community Recreation Plan has been prepared with the oversight and direction of the City Recreation Commission, which consists of 6 citizen members appointed by the City Council, plus a representative from the City Council. The Committee met on several occasions during the preparation of this Plan, and was responsible for the following planning activities:

1. Review of inventory of park/recreation programs and facilities.
2. Review of citizen survey results concerning satisfaction with park and recreation facilities and programs.
3. Review and refinement of planning goals and objectives.
4. Development and refinement of proposed Action Plan.
5. Review and approval of the draft Recreation Plan.


Public input is absolutely critical and:

* Increases ownership of the community plan by community members.
* Promotes democracy and equality with equal opportunity to share in decisions.
* Empowered citizens tend to be more active and to participate more fully in governance. An active and energetic public can offer much needed support for local governments.
* Creativity is enhanced by many ideas coming from people with diverse backgrounds, skills and abilities. In short, problem solving is enhanced when people work together as a team, not alone.
* When citizens are included in the problem-solving and decision-making process, they share in the ownership of the solutions to their community’s problems and are thus said to “buy in” to these solutions. These citizens are far less likely to oppose planning efforts or a solution at the very end of the process, and the solutions your community arrives at are likely to be more effective and longer lasting.
* By involving everyone who has a stake in a community issue win-win problem-solving processes, you reduce the likelihood of conflict, of "we-they" perspectives, and of coalitions forming in opposition to one another.
* Increases stability and commitment to management that central government cannot duplicate.
* Increases economic and technical efficiency because agencies have more clearly defined responsibilities for their actions.
* Citizens are likely to identify themselves as part of something larger than the sum of their individual relationships.
* Citizens are likely to commit themselves for the long term to their own, one another’s and the group’s well being.
* Empower citizens to make those decisions that most affect their own lives.
* Encourages support for citizen and grassroots initiatives.

The planning process used to prepare the 2005-2010 City of Ferrysburg Community Recreation Plan involved three basic phases: data collection, analysis and plan development. The data collection phase involved a review of other City planning documents, collection and analysis of community demographic data, field visits to City park facilities and interviews with city officials and staff. Public opinion regarding recreation facility needs was obtained through review of the results of a City-wide resident opinion survey conducted in both 1996 and 2001 as well as public workshops held in December 2004 and January 2005. Among the wide variety of topics covered in the survey were several survey questions regarding resident satisfaction with recreation facilities and programs.

The analysis phase of the planning process began with an examination of the collected information and selected recreation service standards appropriate to the City of Ferrysburg. From this analysis, a preliminary list of recreation deficiencies and needs was developed, and a preliminary set of plan goals and objectives was formulated.

The Plan goals and objectives then served as the basis for selecting projects for inclusion and prioritization in the Recreation Plan.

Lastly, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed plan on February 21, 2005. A copy of the hearing notice is contained in the Appendix of this document. The Plan was reviewed and proposed park improvements summarized, followed by public comment. Following the public hearing, the City Council adopted the Plan. Documentation of the Plan approval is contained in the Appendix.