Montgomery Parks will present the 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Policy Plan draft to the Planning Board on December 9, 2021.
The PROS Plan guides the long-term, future development, and management of the park system. The draft plan is shaped by public input, which was collected through online, in-person, and mailed surveys.
“We have received a lot of feedback from the public about what they want when it comes to their parks and open spaces,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “Residents tell us that parks are critical for quality of life in Montgomery County and play a significant role in facilitating social connections, delivering recreational opportunities, and providing outlets for people to enjoy nature and the outdoors.”
Recommendations from PROS include how parks can support physical activity, social connections, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship. The plan also focuses on the county’s current efforts and progress regarding land management policies.
Results from the randomized survey of 831 households indicated that 93 percent of respondents greatly value parks and recreation amenities. Some of the priorities identified from the survey results include:
- Parks rank closely behind public safety and schools as one of the top three important factors in what makes a great place to live
- Respondents want parks to provide more recreational amenities for both seniors and teenagers
- Physical activity and exercise are extremely important: almost 90 percent of residents said they exercised or engaged in physical activity on their most recent day off
- Both natural and hard surface trails are highly valued amenities
- Residents value conservation and natural resources stewardship, with almost one-third ranking this as one of the top three priority focus areas for parks in the next five years
The PROS plan is updated every five years and focuses on providing equitable, active, central community spaces that meet the public’s recreational needs and protect the natural and cultural resources of parkland for future generations. Following the Planning Board presentation, the draft will be sent to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources by December 31, 2021, for review and is expected to be finalized by July 1, 2022. Opportunities for public comment and input on the draft PROS plan will continue in the first half of 2022