The Importance of Planning
Planning for parks and recreation programs and facilities in our communities is essential. The only thing constant is change, and the best method to be prepared for and address change is through the planning process.
Planning is an activity, a process, and a solution. It is an activity that park and recreation professionals need to participate in to assure departmental goals are being met and customer needs are satisfied. It is a process that involves two-way communications between the department and customers. Finally it is a solution to answer questions about our services; what we provide and how well we provide it.
The simple lack of a facility or specific type of program does not imply a need. Planning for an evaluation of both programs and facilities, and is a means for accountability. It establishes a baseline for future evaluations and assesses departmental goals. Through evaluation a department may better ascertain impacts to programs and/or facilities, and address changing needs of the population you are to serve. It also provides a base to justify actions, both present and future.
Failure to Plan
Lack of planning is usually obvious in the way our parks are used, or worse, not used. When we don’t plan we have over or under utilized resources, facilities and programs become inaccessible, user conflict becomes a problem, customers are dissatisfied, vandalism may become a problem and these problems may actually cause liability to increase. Problems resulting from lack of planning often require unnecessary modifications, high maintenance and high construction costs.