A private consultant needs to sort through public comments, staff reports and city growth patterns to figure out how the city's parks and recreation money should be spent during the next 25 years, the department's director said this morning.
``I'd like people to tell me what they need,'' said Fred DeVictor, director of parks and recreation. ``More ball diamonds? More parks? Another swimming pool? Another recreation center?
``We need a report, just to tell us what they see as needs, and that will help us decide what to do.''
On Tuesday night, the Lawrence City Commission will decide whether to let the department hire a consultant to devise a comprehensive parks and recreation plan. Commissioners will consider the request during their weekly meeting, which begins at 6:35 p.m. in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.
LAWRENCE'S growth has stretched recreational services to the limit, DeVictor said. His staff already has identified immediate needs for more gymnasiums, more ball diamonds, a swimming pool and more park land, but additional public input is needed, he said.
``Some of these are big-ticket items,'' he said. ``We want to make sure that the folks out there tell us where we need to spend money and what services to provide.''
If the request gains commission approval, consulting and architectural companies will be asked to submit proposals for the plan by 5 p.m. March 9. DeVictor already has budgeted $20,000 for the project, which would be completed by the end of the year.
Consultants would be required to conduct at least two public meetings and work cooperatively with city officials and the public, according to the proposal.
``COMMUNITY survey'' questionnaires also would be prepared in conjunction with city staff, to help evaluate existing parks and future needs.
``If 90 percent of the people say the number-one need is a swimming pool, or only 20 percent of the people say they want one, then that would help us in our planning,'' DeVictor said.
In the end, the project would produce a capital-improvements program for the next five to 10 years, and an assessment of possible recreational needs for the next 25 years.