In our previous blog post, we kicked off our series “How to Plan a Neighborhood Park Your Community Will Love” by reviewing the basic principles of park design and sharing some tips on choosing the amenities for your outdoor space.
Of course, a vital part of the planning process is collaboration with the people who will be using and living alongside the space day after day: your residents. Here are a few strategies for building — and keeping — support among your residents all the way through to completion.
To ensure support for your park, it’s important to involve residents as early in the process as possible. Remember that your initiative will impact everyone in the neighborhood — not just those who will use the space once it’s complete. Some of your residents, for example, might be concerned about how the addition will affect issues such as drainage, parking, and security. Be sure to address both benefits and possible challenges as you introduce the idea to your community.
Vary Your Approach
For soliciting resident input, remember that people have different preferences when it comes to how they express their opinions. Some prefer live “town hall”-type events, while others prefer the privacy of surveys. Make sure to incorporate at least two of the following methods in soliciting the opinions of the people in your community:
- Open meetings
- Focus groups
- Paper surveys
- Online surveys
- Phone surveys
Keep Them Posted
Keep your residents continuously updated on the progress of your neighborhood park project. You may want to start a Facebook page where you post regular updates on developments, delays, and your projected opening date. Encourage residents to follow the page so that they’re always in the loop.
In Part III of our series, we’ll talk about how to get your neighborhood park project buttoned up and ready to roll. Stay tuned!