Stillwater News Press

July 27, 2010

Stillwater is assessing its parks

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Stillwater Park Board will present a report to City Council on Aug. 16 containing information such as how many parks Stillwater has, where they are located, the number of acres each park contains and what each park contains.

Much of this information was obtained through a survey of each park completed by the National Recreation and Parks Association in 2009.

John McClenny, Parks and Recreation director, said the report will be used to compare Stillwater to other communities with parks and recommendations from the park board  addressing the amount of park land the city owns.

“We have seven and a half times the park land of the average community our size,” said McClenny.

McClenny said the information will help “determine the direction we are going to go as far as parks are concerned in the future.”

City Manager Dan Galloway said the issue has been looked at for some time.

“The issue is there’s choices to make,” said Galloway.

But Galloway said the report will be “broad and generic.”

“You won’t see a recommendation to sell a certain park,” said Galloway. “I think we are going to make generic recommendations and request City Council’s direction on addressing those recommendations.”

A recent city plan to sell Tower Park to Oklahoma State University to expand parking drew opposition from residents. The city tabled the sale.

Galloway said that the city’s abundance of park land makes it difficult to keep the parks cared for.

“We’re not able to keep those playground equipments (in our parks) up to date because we’re out mowing 2,000 acres of parks no one ever sees,” said Galloway. “So, we’re trying to bring that into balance.”

Galloway said that all involved are “supporters of having wonderful public parks.” However, he hopes the report next month will bring the information the City Council, the park board and the public need in order to come to an agreement.

“I don’t think the public is aware how many acres we take care of and spend money on,” said Galloway. “It’s time we look at those kinds of things. This is to make people aware of how much land we use and how much it costs. I want the public and City Council involved before we make policy decisions on changing the use and maintenance of city owned land.”

The report will be presented during the Stillwater City Council at 5:30 pm on Aug. 16.