Monday, December 6, 2021

City Council Approves the Parks, Recreation & Open Space Master Plan

City Council adopted the City of Southlake’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan at its June 15 meeting.

The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan is an element of the Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which encompasses the vision, goals and objectives that define the values in the community.  The plan development represents over a year and a half of work between elected and appointed officials, community stakeholders and citizens and will serve as a framework to guide decisions related to parks and open space planning for the future.

In 2019, City Council appointed the Parks Board to oversee the development of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. As part of the plan’s development, the Park Board conducted a community parks citizens survey and studied the results, received feedback from social media engagement, held 15 public meetings, received input from other City boards such as the Southlake Youth Action Committee, Senior Advisory Committee, Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership and School Health Advisory Council, held an open house to receive public feedback on the plan and held a SPIN (Southlake Programs for the Involvement of Neighborhoods) meeting.

In addition, both the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the plan prior to adoption. The plan development process took place in four phases: review of the current state of parks recreation and open spaces, incorporate community feedback and develop new concept plans and recommendations.

Once the Park Board developed the recommendations were divided into three categories: citywide policy recommendations, capital parks projects recommendations and non-capital parks project recommendations.

For each specific recommendation, a relative tier ranking was established to articulate the expected implementation timeframe for that recommendation and are then prioritized and ranked by the parks board and City Council.

“Great parks and open space play such an important role in strengthening our community, improving our physical and mental health, and making Southlake a great community to live and work.  The Park Board in conjunction with the Community Services and Planning and Development Departments have worked diligently over the past 18 months to create a plan that will serve as a blueprint to ensure that Southlake has great parks and open space to serve our citizens and many future generations,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said.

A full copy of the newly adopted City of Southlake Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan is available on the City of Southlake’s website.

The plan encompasses strategies that will continue to accommodate the growing Southlake community by creating more opportunities for recreational programs and services, in addition to investing in enhanced park facilities and open spaces.

These recommendations were collected utilizing community surveys, public meetings and social media engagement.

Southlake City Council Adopts Youth Master Plan Ordinance

Southlake City Council adopted the 2035 Youth Master Plan at the September 4 Council meeting. This new master plan element recognizes the importance of investing in the younger generations and their role in the City’s future.

The purpose of the Youth Master Plan is to establish clear goals and priorities for the next several years related to building up and encouraging youth in the community.

“The Youth Master Plan is a brand new element in the Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan that was developed by the community’s youth and provides recommendations to strengthen a number of existing youth-related programs as well as provides many recommendations related to leadership, community engagement, health & wellness, and volunteerism” said Senior Planning and Development Services Director Ken Baker.

In total, there are twenty-one (21) recommendations in the Youth Master Plan. Grouped by the categories listed above, these recommendations speak to involving the community’s youth in the policy and decision-making process, expanding library programming, promoting safety and security, as well as health and wellness programs, and even working to expand volunteer opportunities for the youth. A major takeaway from this plan is that the City should actively seek the youth perspective when developing certain master plan elements, expanding youth programming, and ensuring the City does what it can to foster an environment where youth have opportunities to build leadership and job skills, and remain or become engaged stakeholders in their community.

The plan underscores that to successfully implement the developed recommendations it is critically important to maintain a strong partnership with our citizens and continuously identify opportunities to engage our corporate citizens and various community groups.

To ensure adequate representation and feedback from the community’s youth, City Council appointed the Southlake Youth Action Commission (SYAC) to develop this plan. City staff also held meetings with the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) and the Community Engagement Committee (CEC) between October 2017 and March 2018. All three committees participated in surveys, tabletop exercises and discussions that provided invaluable insight in the development of this plan, particularly in regard to furthering youth engagement in Southlake.

If you have any questions regarding the Youth Master Plan please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at (817) 748-8621 or visit our city website.