State grant assists in development of Parks & Rec plan

With help from the state, the City of Warren and Warren County are working together on a recreation plan.

A grant of $39,700 from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program provides the funding for the governments to prepare their plans. The grant requires a 50 percent match from the county, according to a Tuesday release.

The city will produce a parks and recreation plan, according to the release. The county will prepare a parks, recreation, and greenways plan.

Those plans will identify the needs and priorities of the area regarding “parks, recreation, greenways, and open space over the next 10 to 20 years. Both plans are being led by project steering committees comprised of members representing various interest groups within the city and county.”

“The city last completed a parks and recreation plan in the 1980s, with much having changed since then,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said. “We have an opportunity to develop a plan that reflects what the city residents would like to see developed within the city parks.”

“It is our goal to have a plan that helps direct our future investments as well as helps us find funding for the identified priorities,” Freenock said.

The county’s last recreation plan was crafted as part of the six-county Northwest Pennsylvania Greenways Planning project in 2008.

“We are updating our plan in order to identify project-specific recommendations that we, the county, can begin to move forward on,” County Planner Dan Glotz said. “In addition, we are working with all of our municipalities to ensure that their needs and priorities for their local municipal parks and recreation efforts are represented in the plan.”

Mackin Engineering Company of Pittsburgh is facilitating both the city and county plans.

Mackin’s project manager, Professional Engineer Amy Wiles, said she is looking forward to working on the plans. “There are so many recreation projects already underway, from the multi-sensory playground at Lacy Park to the continued extension of the Warren Trail, we are excited to work with the city and the county to identify future projects and investment priorities,” Wiles said.

The plans will be crafted with input from interviews with local and regional stakeholders and public hearings, and will include an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, and recommendations about how the vision and goals within the plan can be implemented. The projected completion date is March 2020.

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