SIDNEY – The Sidney Recreation Board approved the Parks and Recreation Master Plan at a meeting on June 5.

The plan has been in the works since June 2022 when the city partnered up with OHM and PROS Consulting Inc. to “establish a long-range plan that helps ensure that resources are used effectively, and priorities are based on the greatest community benefit,” according to an open house and public forum on March 8. The consulting firms held three public forums throughout the year to ask citizens questions and gather feedback about Sidney parks to develop recommendations to improve them.

The board reviewed the proposed plan before approving it. The firms took new activities that open house participants said they would like to see in the parks – like a splash pad, a fitness circuit and more music and arts events – and conceptualized where these would fit into existing parks and provided an estimated cost for each project.

Five new park design concepts were presented in detail in the plan with diagrams. The introduction to this section read, “Conceptual park plans were developed for select parks to illustrate how some of the amenities desired by residents, as indicated in the public engagement work, could be applied to an actual location. These concepts are not intended to be a final design, but can be used as a starting point for future planning, budgeting and to inform feasibility studies that will determine an actual scope of park improvements, subject to City Council approval. The designs are conceptual in nature and subject to review and approval by city officials prior to any implementation.”

In the concepts, Julia Lamb Park and Custenborder Fields gained an amphitheater that could also double as a veteran’s memorial, utilizing the large slope for terraced seating and shifting the existing football field toward the river to make room; a skate park; a playground; and potentially a splash pad.

Deam Park was also considered for the splash pad since public forum participants said a neighborhood park would be an ideal location for a splash pad and Deam Park is central to many neighborhoods and serves one of the largest populations in the city within its 10-minute walk shed. The splash pad would be the focus of the park with a playground and a variety of seating areas in the sun and shade. The Detention Basin was also included and was envisioned to be a nature park with a pavilion.

The Tawawa Park concept reworked parking and traffic flow and added a disc-golf field, natural playground areas and an adventure course.

Robert O. New Park included a meadow/low-mow area to replace underutilized lawn space and a walking path circuit through it.

Newly acquired parkland off St. Marys Avenue was also conceptualized and included a multi-tiered playground – utilizing the hill as a slide – with terraces throughout and an overlook pavilion.

The next step for the plan is for it to be reviewed and approved by City Council in July and August. Once the plan is finalized, it will be available for public viewing on the city’s website and social media.