By Brianna Kudisch
Randolph community members can expect various positive changes to the parks and recreational areas, thanks to the completion of a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The new plan not only evaluates current needs, but also lays the groundwork for the implementation of future proposals.
The updated plan establishes projects to be completed around the local community, with four groupings in regards to timeline. The first group outlines the next zero to two years, the second group outlines three to five years, the third group outlines six to ten years, and the fourth group outlines the plans for the future, beyond ten years.
“As Randolph Township has continued to evolve in both demographics and population, it became apparent that an updated Parks and Recreation Master Plan was necessary to both assess the current needs as well as to establish a plan for parks and recreation investments for the next 10-15 years,” said Russ Newman, director of Randolph Parks and Recreation.
The last completed Parks and Recreation Master Plan was put together in 1998; it led to the development of Freedom Park as well as multiple improvements made on existing facilities, parks, and trails, including the renovation of the Community Center.
This recently modernized master plan is authored by a collection of people, including the Steering Committee, which consists of township staff, council members, and representatives from the Parks Advisory and Recreation Advisory Committees, and Brandstetter Carroll, an outside consultant hired for the project.
The Steering Committee and Brandstetter Carroll have worked together to form a report over 125 pages, detailing information on facilities and programs, specific plans, an analysis of what is needed and what is recommended, and a synopsis of public opinion, gathered from online surveys, websites, random mailed surveys, meetings, and public workshops.
Planned recommendations for the parks and recreational areas will cost about $12.5 million dollars, spread through the 10-15 years in which the project’s goals expect to be achieved. No taxes will be raised in the completion of the projects, as funding will come from the Open Space and Recreation Development Trust Fund. The fund is supported by a specifically allocated local tax already in place.
One recommended action outlined in the plan is the development of a park on the site on Calais Road that spans 90 acres; the park would include elements not currently available at existing Randolph parks.
“These [elements] include an outdoor stage/bandshell, a community garden, outdoor fitness equipment, a lighted, paved loop trail, picnic pavilions, a nature-themed playground, and other amenities such as pickle ball and bocce courts, as well as a connecting trail to Heistein Park,” said Newman.
Additionally, there are plans to continue improving and advancing the existing trail network, and to develop a Trails Master Plan. Brundage and Heistein Parks would also receive necessary changes through field lighting upgrades and improved restroom facilities and picnic shelters.
Freedom Park will also receive changes through the planned replacement and expansion of its artificial turf field, improved restroom facilities and picnic shelters.
More updates include improved security, ADA access, existing field and building maintenance in general, and specific improvements to the Brundage Park Playhouse and Artworks Studios.
The Township Council held a public hearing for the plan on May 5, with following discussions in the following months, and it is scheduled to move to accept the plan by resolution at their meeting on July 28.