The Evergreen Park & Recreation District’s board is considering its options for creating what it calls a “fast and light” strategic plan.
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The board at a work session on Aug. 11 looked at a step-by-step plan with the ultimate goal to get buy-in from district voters for a potential bond to make necessary repairs and to provide new facilities. What those repairs and new facilities would be will be determined through the strategic plan.
The plan will take between 10 and 15 months to complete, and depending on how much work district staff does vs. the amount done by consultants, the cost will be between $75,000 and $150,000. The district has $100,000 in its budget for the study.
After looking at three possibilities, board members are leaning toward hiring consultants to perform more of the work, so they don’t overly burden EPRD staff. The board will decide on a direction at its meeting starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 23, and if consultants are needed, the district will create requests for proposals.
EPRD Grants and Development Coordinator Liz Cohen told the board she believed the district should hire a consultant to coordinate the entire study with input from EPRD.
“We need help on controversial issues,” she said. “I believe it would be money well spent to serve our community.”
The last time EPRD put a bond request before voters was in November 2018 when the $24 million measure lost by about 200 votes.
Cohen figured the district would need to pay consultants to perform a full community survey, a demographics and trends study that also could be used for future grant applications, a level-of-service analysis, financial analysis, and to provide guidance on bond development and a voter referendum.
Board members discussed what community engagement would look like, some favoring several meetings to gain input in addition to a survey. They want the community to understand the costs for different projects and the tradeoffs if one project is selected over another.
“We don’t want the perception that EPRD is not listening to the community,” board member Betsy Hays said. “People want to be heard. We want to do the best to make sure the community has the best opportunity to speak.”
Board members agreed that a strategic plan would be completed before going to voters to ask for a bond, and then staff could create an implementation plan based on the election outcome.
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