The Williamsport Five Park Master Plan, which was supported by the Keystone Fund, is an excellent example of a master site plan designed to improve livability in a community. It identified parks in different neighborhoods throughout the city in need of repair. During the planning process, outreach efforts gathered community input and brought together key local partners to discuss needs. This process stimulated productive relationships between city government, local residents, and local organizations, laying the groundwork for future community-building efforts centered around neighborhood parks.
Though each neighborhood had its own unique challenges and opportunities, several common themes did emerge. Natural park settings, benches, walking trails, covered pavilions, and picnic tables were desired. Certain neighborhoods also made larger-scale recommendations, including play structures, courts, safety surfaces, and fencing. The community was able to prioritize the upgrades to each park, connecting them with other planned urban development. Williamsport then developed a funding strategy and a plan for the maintenance and operation of each facility. The funding strategy will draw upon public and private resources over a 10 year period. Development was aided by the public nature of the planning process, which encouraged greater sense of “buy in” from community partners.
“Not only is Williamsport more than on track for improving its neighborhood parks and facilities; more importantly, we are meeting our citizens needs,” said Mayor Mary B. Wolf.