What is a PROS Plan?
A Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan is a six-year plan that anticipates the programming and capital projects necessary to meet the community’s needs for parks, recreation, and open space, as well as trails, arts, and cultural events. This plan allows the community to express what recreational opportunities the City should offer in our parks. Established forms of recreation such as walking, team sports and fitness classes are enjoyed by a broad cross section of the community and supported by existing trails, sports fields and facilities such as Mercer Island Community and Events Center. When new sports and activities become popular, the PROS Plan helps City Council determine if any of these should be included as public offerings.
Why do we need a PROS Plan?
A PROS Plan is required to maintain the city’s eligibility for grant funding through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) and must be updated every six years. RCO funding is an important resource for Mercer Island Parks & Recreation; from 2014-2019, we received $673,000 in grants from RCO, funding we would not have been eligible for if we did not have a PROS Plan. The Plan also keeps us competitive for other grant programs.
In addition to access to funding, the PROS Plan also looks at our current facilities and what they need to continuing serving the community. Restrooms, sports fields, signs, trails, and more all need to be renovated or replaced at some point. The PROS Plan helps us identify and prioritize needs for capital reinvestment.
Who updates the PROS Plan?
The City’s new Parks and Recreation Commission will guide the effort from start to finish with support from city staff. For this process to work well, we also need you, our Parks & Recreation Pros, to participate! Young, old, athletic, sedentary – everyone’s voice count. Even if you use private clubs or classes to recreate, we want to hear from you, too, so we can learn where everyone goes for their favorite activities on the Island.
How can community members participate in the PROS Plan process?
There will be several opportunities to share your ideas for the PROS Plan over the next several months. As an initial step in the process, we are conducting a survey that will be mailed out to a random sample of community members. If you receive one, please fill it out and return it, or use the unique ID code on the survey to complete it online.
An online survey with the same questions as the mailed survey will be available to the entire community HERE.
In 2020, we’ll kick off a robust public engagement process that will include stakeholder discussions, family friendly outreach events, public meetings, online forums, and more. Stay tuned to Let’s Talk for key dates and to learn more about how and when to share your input. You can also attend the monthly Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on the first Thursday of the month to stay updated on the planning progress.
When will the PROS Plan process happen?
The bulk of our work will take place in 2020. We are tentatively targeting the end of next year for final Plan review and adoption.