Downey’s Master Plan for Parks and Recreation Making Progress from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

More than six months into the development of the City of Downey’s Parks and Recreation master plan, the partnership between the city and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif. is continuing to move forward in the process.

A couple sits in the shade reading at Wilderness Park in Downey, Calif. Wilderness Park is one of the most popular parks in the city. It includes several lakes where wildlife have claimed its home. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

A couple sits in the shade reading at Wilderness Park in Downey, Calif. Wilderness Park is one of the most popular parks in the city. It includes several lakes where wildlife have claimed its home. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

In late August of 2012, the city formed a partnership with the university’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning students to begin working with the city’s Parks and Recreation department on developing the first master plan for the parks of Downey.

During a regular city council meeting on June 25, the council was given a Parks and Recreation Master Plan Status Report Presentation by faculty member Julianna Delgado and one of the students involved with the project. Delgado teaches studio and lecture courses in the Urban and Planning department was the person in charge of the capstone project for 25 students during the winter and spring quarter.

A young boy rides his scooter along the pathways on a hot summer day at Rio San Gabriel Park in Downey, Calif.  Photo by: Alicia Edquist

A young boy rides his scooter along the pathways on a hot summer day at Rio San Gabriel Park in Downey, Calif. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

The comprehensive status report was a part of the process to let council and community members see the process of building the master plan. The plan is currently in draft form and can take up 18 months to finalize and approve by the council. There will be a new set of students in the fall that will continue working on developing the master plan for the city.

Feeding the ducks is one of the many features Wilderness Park has for residents and community members to enjoy while at the park. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Feeding the ducks is one of the many features Wilderness Park has for residents and community members to enjoy while at the park. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Director of Parks and Recreation Arlene Salazar serves as the city representative for the project with the university.

The process began by looking for unique avenues to develop that master plan for parks and recreation.

“We have had substantial economic challenges, not only does a private person experience but also communities and governments suffer from that as well. And so as a result of that it lead me to search for non-traditional partners and so that is how the project began out of Cal Poly Pomona,” Salazar said.

The partnership with Cal Poly Pomona gave both the city and the students in the program a chance to have hands on experience developing a real plan. Salazar worked closely with Delgado and students to set up community meetings for residents to have a voice in the process.

The detailed background report from the capstone project document is more than 500 pages full of data collected and recommendations from the students and will require time for the city staff to go through the document and analyze it.

Trail signs at Furman Park along with the beaten dirt path are one of many areas that community members want to see improved in the master plan. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Trail signs at Furman Park along with the beaten dirt path are one of many areas that community members want to see improved in the master plan. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

The students in the capstone project worked on this for six months during their winter and spring quarters. The work included collecting data on the parks and city, looking at area cities, talking to community members, surveying community members about parks and recreation activities, surveying each park as well as developing plans and recommendation for the city’s parks and recreation.

The students in the capstone project worked for six months during their winter and spring quarters. In the winter, the students worked on the background portion of the plan while in the spring, they analyzed their findings and developed draft master plan with recommendations for improvements and usage.

There were five chapters in the report that included history and demographic characteristics, inventory of existing parks and facilities, community outreach, connectivity (physical and social) and case studies.

The students in the project created the presentation and it had data that was collected by the students as well as ideas and designs that are some of the recommendations for Downey parks.

Woman stops to take a rest under the shady trees at Wilderness Park in Downey, Calif. Shade is one of the most popular reasons that community come to the parks. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Woman stops to take a rest under the shady trees at Wilderness Park in Downey, Calif. Shade is one of the most popular reasons that community come to the parks. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Downey has 14 parks, each have its own master plan but the city wanted to develop a master plan that included all the parks.

The project will continue through 2013 and into 2014 until it is completed and approved by the city council. There will be more community meetings throughout the year to help guide the process in developing plan.

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