Friday, May 12, 2017

May 8th, 2017 Gladstone City Commission Meeting: Parks and North Shore Lakefront Development

The Gladstone Park-n-Rec expenses and the North Shore Lakefront Development Project were center stage in the May 8th, 2017 City Commission Meeting. Occurring the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at the Commission Chambers at 1100 Delta Avenue at 7:00PM. Two important public interest topics were raised. While smaller issues arose the primary purpose is to raise awareness of the "big ticket" items.  You may find more information here.

Park-n-Rec Costs/Profits
Discussion over costs and benefits were proposed. The total expense over the past year was $735K. When approximately $609K in profits were subtracted it led to a $126K deficit. However, this deficit is considered smaller than previous years and costs approximately $43 dollars per person.

There are a number of factors that influence park usage and could have an impact on budgets. Parks must have neighborhood accessibility and walkability in order to improve the overall number of visitors (Van Dyke, et. al. 2013). Another factor that influences park usage is neighborhood income. However, people who use the parks a lot are not from the highest income brackets.

While direct income and expenses seem very high you will notice that parks increase the overall value of homes located in close proximity. This increased value impacts how well the houses are maintained as well as the tax income derived from these houses. A small deficit in spending doesn't necessarily take into effect city tax increases on house value.

North Shore Lakefront Development Project:  There will be a community presentation on June 5th at 6PM at the Yacht Club for those interested in seeing potential development in the area. Food and entertainment will be provided. There is some discussion on developing the shore area with mixed use with housing and retail. You can read more about the North Shore Lakefront Development Project Here.

Waterfront development can have a major impact on smaller towns like Gladstone. According to a research study in Environments, the waterfront should be clean, green, accessible, connected, diverse, usable, affordable and attractive (Barrett, 1996). They are spaces for commerce and the community activities that fit within the natural landscape.

The goal should be to attract people to the area and encourage appropriate commercial and recreational activities that lead to the financial and social health of the community. When developed properly they will often create greater attraction for the city and encourage new businesses and investments in the area that raises its appeal.

Barrett, S. (1996). Everything is connected to everything else: Toronto and the waterfronts, shores and coasts of the Great Lakes. Environments, 24 (1).

Van Dyck, et. al. (2013). Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use: an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium. International Journal of Health Geographics, 12 (26).

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