Jim Burke

Glendale’s parks and recreation master plan was approved and adopted during the May 25 city council meeting. 

The public facilities, recreation and special events department teamed with GreenPlay LLC to update the plan, as it is reviewed and renewed every 10 years. 

To meet Glendale’s needs, GreenPlay, a parks and recreation master plan consulting firm, conducted research; gathered information through stakeholder interviews, focus groups and surveys; and hosted an open house to gather a better understanding of what was best for the city.

 The finalized master plan was initially approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission on May 17, which was then presented and adopted at the city council meeting on May 25. 

Now, the parks and recreation team will work together to implement the plan and determine what action needs to be taken first. Jim Burke, public facilities, recreation and special events director, will take the lead on where the plan goes next.

“The first thing I will do is get with my staff and go through the recommendations and then identify those that are really short term, already given instructions to work on and come up with a plan to start working those into our work plan,” Burke said. 

“It starts off with people’s performance evaluations and starts becoming part of our request for capital funds and property funds. Then we’ll just track as we make progress, as things get completed or as things get reprioritized or shifted over time. And that’ll be an ongoing annual review.” 

The plan will be used as a guide to prioritize resource allocation decisions for new facilities and rehabilitation projects, programs and services to create further recreation opportunities, well-maintained facilities, and a customer focused and responsive park and recreation system. 

“This will be our guiding document for how we implement programs, capital improvement projects for the park system moving into the future,” Burke said. “That will bring decisions and discussions to the council and to the greater communities — what are your priorities, what are the things you’re interested in, how do you want us to deal with this year by year?”

As for the changes from the previous plan that was created in 2011 and approved by council in 2012, Burke indicates they are minor. 

“Most of the changes were very, very minor in some of the tables and charts in the early part of the document to clean them up, and then the council’s interested in how we’re going to deal with the new sets of data when it comes up,” he said. 

As new data comes in, Burke said his team will review annually to see how it affects what they consider for distribution programs, activities or development. 

Burke said the plan will ultimately benefit the community and its residents, as it will help identify and strengthen the condition of parks and community programs. 

“It brings a focus on the condition of the parks,” Burke said. “We’re all aware that the council made a lot of comments that they want to start bringing more resources and allocating to parks, how the grass grows, trees look, and how the buildings are maintained and cared for, but it also identifies needs for additional programming and distribution of programs across the entire community.”

The master plan allows Burke’s team to scrutinize the situation and identify how to fix, adjust and strengthen different parts of Glendale. 

“Glendale parks is giving us a path forward for improving that in terms of access to outdoor recreation, access to indoor recreation, types of programming and where those programs are offered in the community,” he said.