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PARKS AND RECREATION MASTER PLAN UPDATE February 2016


Master Plan Update

Acknowledgements Suffolk City Council Linda T. Johnson – Mayor Leroy Bennett – Vice Mayor Michael D. Duman Roger W. Fawcett Donald Z. Goldberg Timothy J. Johnson Curtis R. Milteer, Sr. Lue R. Ward, Jr.

Suffolk Parks and Recreation Commission Henry Buck Jr. - Chairman Ivery Knight - Chair Elect Ira Steingold Darrell Davis Anthony Sandifer Jean Carmean Judson West Wayne Q. White

Suffolk City Administration Patrick Roberts – City Manager D. Scott Mills, AICP – Interim Deputy City Manager

Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation Lakita Watson, CPRP – Director Helen Gabriel – Assistant Director

Consultant PROS Consulting, INC. Neelay Bhatt – Vice President and Lead Consultant Sarah Durham – Project Consultant LPDA – Bill Mechnick – Principal and Lead Consultant

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Parks, and Recreation Department

Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .........................................................................1

COMMUNITY INPUT ..............................................................................6

COMMUNITY PROFILE ....................................................................27

PARKS, FACILITIES, AND PROGRAM NEEDS ANALYSIS ............44

PARK AND FACILITY ASSESSMENT .................................................85 HISTORICAL, CULTURAL & NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN ......................................................................................................................................... 106

ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT ................................................... 121

CONCLUSION ................................................................................. 136 APPENDIX A – SUFFOLK PARKS AND RECREATION TRAILS AND WATER ACCESS STUDY 2015 ................................................................................................................... 137

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Master Plan Update

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION The foundation of the approach to the Parks and Recreation Department Master Plan Update was to incorporate an efficient and effective public participation process. It was very important to not only to engage those who are always participating in the planning process but also those who do not. The Consulting Team worked with the Department to identify opportunities that engage people through a variety of community input process described below. The outcomes, as outlined in this Master Plan Update, provide guidance for both short-term and long-term goals in a financially sustainable and achievable manner.

The process of developing this Master Plan Update followed a logical planning path, as described below:

Vision and Mission

Community Input & StatisticallyValid Survey

Demographic & Recreation Trends Analysis

Parks, Facilities & Program Needs Analysis

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Parks and Facility Assessment

Financial & Capital Improvement Strategy

Implementation Plan


Parks and Recreation Department

VISION, MISSION AND VALUES 1.2.1 VISION STATEMENT The following vision presents Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department desire for the future: “To be the national leader in connecting people through play.” 1.2.2 MISSION STATEMENT The following mission statement is how Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department will implement their vision: “To create memorable experiences through a culture of fun and customer service excellence.” 1.2.3 VALUES To fulfill the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA’s) 3 Pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity, Innovation, Financial Sustainability and Customer Service Excellence.

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Master Plan Update

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS 1.3.1ACTION ITEMS All action items are categorized into three broad structures: On-going items that are a part of the continuous improvement of the Department Short-term items – 0-3 year implementation time frame Mid-term to Long-term items – 3 -5 years and beyond ON-GOING 

Create a sense of Destination for Suffolk as it relates to ecotourism and conservation education

Focus on customer service excellence and professionalism

o

Enhance internal customer service and staff capabilities by recruiting, retaining good quality staff and building a professional culture

o

Make customer service and diversity training an on-going experience

o

Develop succession plans for all levels

o

Structured staff training and development and cross training plan

o

Ensure staff diversity reflects the community/City that is being served

Update Program Age Segment, Classification and Lifecycle worksheets annually to ensure balance between all categories o

Ensure large number of programs in the intro stage transition to the growth or are repositioned

o

Balance program offerings to multi-gen audience (62% of current offerings target age 24 or under)

Focus on existing facility upgrades/improvements/expansion o

Upgrade at least one recreation center / park every two years

Continue expanding special events and adult fitness and wellness program offerings

Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Evaluate grant opportunities

o

Continue seeking dedicated funding sources e.g. Bond/ Foundation?

Develop and annually update mini-business plans for key facilities

Create consistency and standardization in offerings and in service delivery o

Customer service culture plan e.g. email, uniforms, name tags, social media etc.

SHORT-TERM ITEMS 

Tell your story: develop a stand-alone Department Marketing and Branding Plan in 2016 (#1 barrier to participation according to statistically-valid survey is Lack of Awareness (42%)) o

Add full-time marketing specialist position and a full-time web development coordinator

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Parks and Recreation Department

o o o

Continue to update responsive design website Build an App to promote agency offerings including revenue opportunities Improve ease of visibility to online registration process

Complete Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation

Develop / update revenue and pricing policy to focus on maximizing earned income generation o

Identify true cost of service offerings

Evaluate outdoor, adventure nature based gaming options (e.g. Agents of Nature) and establish a full-time position for conservation education

Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Funding to complete Architectural and Engineering plans and construction of Driver Athletic Complex

o

Explore National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Fund Your Park for crowdfunding options

o

Determine sponsorship opportunities and sponsorable value of individual amenities and entire system

Conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the financial viability and operating conditions for a new aquatic center

Focus on existing facility upgrades/improvements/expansion o

Address safety and code issues identified in the facilities report and ensure Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance system-wide

o

Renovate seasonal outdoor pool and add a splash park

o

Ensure ADA compliance system-wide

MID-TERM TO LONG-TERM ITEMS 

Increase public water access in Suffolk o

Identify and develop additional accesses to the Nansemond River and other important waterways for all kinds of recreational users

o

Build a public boat ramp (to accommodate large boats / water craft) close to the downtown area

Enhance local and regional trail and built environment connectivity o

Continue to develop and connect to the Seaboard Coastline Trail

o

Build or improve multi-use trail at public parks and facilities. Enhance trails with signage, fitness equipment and other amenities.

o

Develop a detailed bicycle and pedestrian plan for the City of Suffolk

Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Evaluate grant opportunities

o

Explore National Recreation and Park Association’s Fund Your Park for crowdfunding options

o

Determine sponsorship opportunities and sponsorable value of individual amenities and entire system

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Master Plan Update

o 

Naming Rights

Partnerships o

With schools for additional joint use agreements or joint facility development and use

o

Private developers for parks/amenities based on established design guidelines and standards

Build an aquatic center, if found feasible

Apply for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award.

CONCLUSION This Master Plan update is a community-values based document and aligned with the National Recreation and Park Association’s 3 Pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity. It aims to be a realistic yet ambitious road map with strategic actions items and performance metrics tied to them. While, the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department has done a commendable job serving the community’s needs with the available resources, they are not content with the status quo and aspire to go from good to great. The community and city leadership are very supportive and believe in the social and economic benefits of parks and recreation. It is essential that the department continue to validate those benefits by forging new partnerships, building a connected community and maintaining a culture of accountability and internal /external customer service excellence. Accomplishing these goals will be a huge step towards fulfilling their vision of becoming the ‘national leader in connecting people through play’.

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Parks and Recreation Department

COMMUNITY INPUT KEY LEADERSHIP AND FOCUS GROUP SUMMARY There has been extensive public input and participation as part of this master plan update process. PROS Consulting conducted 20 focus groups of residents and departmental staff, interviews with key stakeholders and community leaders and three open public meetings over a two day period. This interaction with over 200 individuals played an important part in establishing priorities for the future improvement and direction of management and planning for the department. In addition to the leadership interviews, focus groups, and community meetings, the public input process included a statistically reliable community needs assessment survey of residents. Note: The findings listed below are solely the opinion of the individual attendees at these meetings and may not reflect the overall community, staff or the consultant’s opinion.

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Master Plan Update

2.1.1 STRENGTHS • Variety of Program Offerings • Talented Staff • Affordable activities • East Suffolk Recreation Center • Partnerships 2.1.2 OPPORTUNITIES • Transportation and Connectivity • Aquatic Facilities • More freestanding facilities • Accessibility to Nansemond River • Tournament facility 2.1.3 SINGLE BIGGEST PRIORITY • Connectivity within the diverse community • Economic Development • Aquatic Facility • Multi-use standalone recreation facility • Additional Water access • Marketing and Outreach

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Parks and Recreation Department

STATISTICALLY VALID COMMUNITY SURVEY ETC Institute conducted a Community Interest and Opinion Survey for the City of Suffolk during the spring of 2015 to help determine parks, trails, and recreation priorities for the community. The survey was mailed to a random sample of households in the City of Suffolk. A total of 368 households completed the survey. The results for the sample of 368 households have a 95% level of confidence with a precision rate of at least +/- 5.1%. 2.2.1 SURVEY FINDINGS VISITATION OF PARKS, TRAILS, SPORTS, AND RECREATION FACILITIES Seventy-one percent (71%) of respondent households visited City of Suffolk parks, trails, sports, or recreation facilities over the past 12 months.

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Master Plan Update FREQUENCY OF VISITS TO PARKS Of households who have visited parks, trails, sports, or recreation facilities, 36% have visited a few times a year. Other visitation levels include a few times a month (27%), at least once a week (19%), at least once a month (13%), and less than once a year (5%).

FACILITIES USED IN THE CITY OF SUFFOLK PARKS Based on the percentage of respondents who have used or visited the City of Suffolk parks over the past 12 months, 56% visited playgrounds. Other facilities include walking & hiking trails (54%), picnic areas (46%), covered shelters (27%), and fishing areas (25%).

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Parks and Recreation Department CONCERNS WITH PARKS, TRAILS, ATHLETIC COMPLEXES OR RECREATION FACILITIES Based on the percentage of respondents who visited parks or facilities, 25% indicated that they were concerned that facilities were not equally distributed throughout the City. Other concerns include security or safety issues (22%), lack of facilities that meet needs (18%), and maintenance and cleanliness (18%).

OVERALL PHYSICAL CONDITION OF PARKS, TRAILS, AND RECREATION FACILITIES Based on the percentage of respondents who have visited any of the City’s parks, 60% rated parks, trails, and facilities as good, with another 16% rating them as excellent. One out of every five respondents consider the parks, trails, and facilities to be fair (20%), while only 4% rated them as poor.

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Master Plan Update WAYS RESIDENTS LEARN ABOUT PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES Fifty-seven percent (57%) of respondents learned about the City of Suffolk park and recreation programs and activities from friends and neighbors. Other ways include newspapers (41%), parks and recreation brochure (27%), and the parks and recreation website (23%).

FACILITY USAGE Based on the percentage of respondent households who have used the facility at least once over the past year, 52% of respondents have used the Sleepy Hole Park. Other facilities include Bennett’s Creek Park (45%), Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina (38%), and East Suffolk Recreation Center (35%).

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Parks and Recreation Department EXISTING FACILITY IMPORTANCE Based on respondent households’ top three choices, 37% indicated that the most important facility to their household was Sleepy Hole Park. Other most important facilities include Bennett’s Creek Park (32%), East Suffolk Recreation Center (25%), Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina (21%), and Kidszone Community Playground/Skate Park (19%).

PROGRAM PARTICIPATION Thirty-one percent (31%) of respondents indicated that they have participated in recreation programs offered by the City of Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department over the past 12 months.

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Master Plan Update NUMBER OF PROGRAMS PARTICIPATED IN BY HOUSEHOLD Of respondents who have participated in programs, 42% have participated in 2 to 3 programs over the past 12 months. Other amounts of programs include 1 program (37%), 4 to 6 programs (12%), 7 to 10 programs (6%), and 11 or more programs (3%).

REASONS FOR PARTICIPATING Based on the percentage of respondents who have participated in programs, 73% participate in City of Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department programs because of the location of the facility. Other reasons include Economical fees (44%), convenient times offered (34%), quality of program (34%), and friends participate (34%).

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Parks and Recreation Department RATING OF PROGRAMS Based on the percentage of respondents who participate in programs, 49% rate the overall quality of programs as good. Other ratings include excellent (39%) and fair (12%).

FACILITY NEED BY PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS Sixty-three percent (63%) or 19,447 households indicated a need for walking and biking trials. Other needed facilities include: Picnic areas/shelters (54% or 16,607 households), small neighborhood parks (50% or 15,527 households), indoor fitness facilities (50% or 15,434 households), playgrounds (50% or 15,280 households).

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Master Plan Update FACILITY NEED BY TOTAL HOUSEHOLDS The following chart shows facility need by total number of respondent households.

EXTENT OF MET NEED FOR PARKS AND FACILITIES Based on the percentage of households that have a need for facilities, playgrounds, picnic areas/shelters, football fields, and community parks have the highest percent of household need being met at 75% or better. Facilities that are not meeting household need (50% or less) at the highest rate were: outdoor water spray parks, indoor swimming pools, outdoor amphitheater, and pickleball courts.

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Parks and Recreation Department TOTAL HOUSEHOLDS WITH UNMET NEED FOR FACILITIES (50% OR LESS) Facilities reporting the highest number of households with unmet need (50% or less) were indoor walking & running track (10,045 households), indoor swimming pool (10,026 households), walking & biking trails (9,801 households), and indoor fitness facilities (9,322 households).

FACILITY IMPORTANCE TO ADULTS Based on the sum of respondents top four choices, 47% indicated that the most important facility to adults ages 19 and older in their household was walking and biking trails. Other most important facilities include indoor walking and running track (25%), picnic areas and shelters (22%), indoor swimming pools (21%), and indoor fitness facilities (21%).

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Master Plan Update FACILITY IMPORTANCE TO CHILDREN Based on the sum of respondent’s top four choices, 23% indicated that playgrounds were the most important facility to children ages 0-18 in their household. Other most important facilities include indoor swimming pools (15%), small neighborhood parks (13%), walking and biking trails (12%), gymnasium for basketball and volleyball (10%), outdoor water spray parks (10%), and large community parks (10%).

PROGRAM NEED BY PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENT HOUSEHOLDS Fifty-six percent (56%) or 17,379 households indicated a need for festivals/special events. Other needed programs include adult fitness and wellness programs (56% or 17,286 households) and concerts (48% or 14,848 households).

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Parks and Recreation Department PROGRAM NEED BY TOTAL NUMBER OF RESPONDENT HOUSEHOLDS The chart below reveals the total number of respondent households that have a need for parks and recreation programs.

EXTENT OF MET NEED FOR PARKS AND RECREATION PROGRAMS Based on the percentage of households that have a need for programs, youth sports, festivals/special events, and pre-school programs have the highest percent of household need being met at 75% or better. Programs that are not meeting household need (50% or less) at the highest rate were golf programs/instruction, tennis lessons & leagues, and programs for individuals with disabilities.

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Master Plan Update TOTAL HOUSEHOLDS WITH UNMET NEED FOR PROGRAMS (50% OR LESS) Programs reporting the highest number of households with unmet need (50% or less) were adult fitness and wellness programs (10,461 households), concerts (10,082 households), festivals/special events (10,080 households), and races (8,242 households).

PROGRAM IMPORTANCE Based on the sum of respondent’s top four choices, 35% indicated that adult fitness and wellness programs are the most important to their household. Other most important programs include festivals/special events (29%) and concerts (23%).

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Parks and Recreation Department PROGRAM PARTICIPATION Based on the sum of respondents top four choices, 28% indicated that they participate in festivals/special events the most often. Other most participated in programs include adult fitness and wellness programs (19%), concerts (15%), races (12%), and youth sports programs (10%).

AGREEMENT WITH BENEFITS OF PARKS, TRAILS, AND RECREATION FACILITIES Based on the percentage of respondent households who either “strongly agree” or “agree,” 92% agree with the benefit of improved physical health and fitness. Other similar levels of agreement include make Suffolk a more desirable place to live (89%), improve mental health and reduce stress (85%), and preserve open space and the environment (84%).

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Master Plan Update MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS TO HOUSEHOLDS Based on the percentage of respondents top three choices, 61% indicated the most important benefit to their household was improve physical health and fitness. Other most important benefits include make Suffolk a more desirable place to live (50%) and to help reduce crime (39%).

MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS TO THE FUTURE OF THE CITY OF SUFFOLK Based on the sum of respondent households top three choices, 55% indicated that the most important benefit to the future of the City of Suffolk was that it made Suffolk a more desirable place to live. Other most important benefits include help reduce crime (40%), increase property values in surrounding area (31%), and help attract new residence and business (30%).

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Parks and Recreation Department REASONS PREVENTING USE OF FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS Forty-two percent (42%) of respondent households are prevented from using parks, recreation facilities, or programs more often because they do not know what is being offered. Other reasons include too far from residence (29%), I do not know locations of facilities (25%), and program or facility is not offered (24%).

BARRIERS PREVENTING THE USE OF YOUTH PROGRAMS Based on the percentage of respondents who indicated “somewhat a barrier” or “major barrier,” 71% indicated that childcare was a barrier that prevented them from using youth programs. Other similar barriers include transportation to programs (67%), cost of programs to individuals (58%), and programs seem to come and go too quickly (54%).

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Master Plan Update SATISFACTION WITH THE OVERALL VALUE RECEIVED Forty-eight percent (48%) of respondent households were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied,” with the overall value their household received from the City of Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department. Other satisfaction levels include neutral (33%), somewhat dissatisfied (12%), and very dissatisfied (7%).

IMPORTANCE TO FUND IMPROVEMENTS OF THE PARKS AND RECREATION SYSTEM Fifty percent (50%) of respondent households believe that it is equally important to fund the parks and recreation system. Other levels of importance include not sure (18%), more important (19%), and less important 13%).

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Parks and Recreation Department AGE OF RESPONDENTS

AGE OF HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS

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Master Plan Update GENDER OF RESPONDENTS

NUMBER OF YEARS RESPONDENT HAS LIVED IN SUFFOLK

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Parks and Recreation Department RACE / ETHNICITY

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Master Plan Update

COMMUNITY PROFILE DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS The Demographic Analysis provides an understanding of the population within the City of Suffolk, Virginia. This analysis is reflective of the total population, and its key characteristics such as age segments, income levels, race, and ethnicity. It is important to note that future projections are all based on historical patterns and unforeseen circumstances during or after the time of the projections could have a significant bearing on the validity of the final projections. 3.1.1 DEMOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW The total population of the target area had a minimal increase of approximately 2.2% from 84,585 in 2010 to 86,431 in 2013. The current estimated population is projected to reach 89,508 in 2018, and total 95,662 by 2028. According to the U.S. Census reports, the total number of households in the service area has increased by approximately 2.2%, from 30,868 in 2010 to 31,511 in 2013. The total number of households is expected to grow to 32,667 by 2018 and reach 34,916 by 2028. The city’s median household income ($67,153) is above state and national averages, while per capita income ($29,255) falls in between the state and national average. Based on the 2010 Census, the population of the Suffolk is slightly older (37.7 years) than the median age of the U.S. (37.2 years). Projections show that the target area will undergo an aging trend, with the 55+ group growing to represent one-third of the total population by 2028. The population is split between White Alone (52.25%) and Black Alone (42.7%), with no other race segment accounting for more than 3%. Future projections through 2028 expect the White Alone to remain relatively unchanged at 52.96%, while the Black Alone slowly decreases to 37.96%.

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Parks and Recreation Department

3.1.2 METHODOLOGY Demographic data used for the analysis was obtained from U.S. Census Bureau and from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), the largest research and development organization dedicated to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and specializing in population projections and market trends. All data was acquired in July 2014 and reflects actual numbers as reported in the 2010 Censuses, and estimates for 2013 and 2018 as obtained by ESRI. Straight line linear regression was utilized for projected 2023 and 2028 demographics. The geographic boundary of the City of Suffolk was utilized as the demographic analysis boundary shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1- City Boundaries

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Master Plan Update RACE AND ETHNICITY DEFINTIONS The minimum categories for data on race and ethnicity for Federal statistics, program administrative reporting, and civil rights compliance reporting are defined as below. The Census 2010 data on race are not directly comparable with data from the 2000 Census and earlier censuses; caution must be used when interpreting changes in the racial composition of the US population over time. The latest (Census 2010) definitions and nomenclature are used within this analysis. 

American Indian – This includes a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment

Asian – This includes a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam

Black – This includes a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – This includes a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands

White – This includes a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa

Hispanic or Latino – This is an ethnic distinction, a subset of a race as defined by the Federal Government; this includes a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race

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Parks and Recreation Department

3.1.3 SUFFOLK POPULACE POPULATION The City of Suffolk has witnessed minimal growth in recent years. From 2010 to 2013, the city’s total population experienced an increase of 2.2%, from 84,585 to 86,431. Projecting ahead, the total population of the target area is expected continue slowly growing over the next 15 years. Based on predictions through 2028, the local population is expected to have approximately 95,662 residents living within 34,916 households. See Figure 2.

City of Suffolk: Total Population 100,000

90,000

84,585

92,585

89,508

86,431

95,662

80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 Total Population

40,000 30,000 20,000

10,000 0 2010 Census

2013 Estimate

2018 Projection

2023 Projection

Figure 2-Total Population

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2028 Projection


Master Plan Update AGE SEGMENT Evaluating the distribution by age segments, the city is largely balanced between the four major age segments. In 2010, the largest segment by population is the 55+ group representing just over 30% of the population, and the smallest is the 18-34 segment which constitutes about 20% of the population. Over time, the overall composition of the population is projected to undergo an aging trend. Based on the 2013 estimate, the 55+ population is growing at the most rapid pace, representing 25% of the population. Future projections through 2028 show that the 55+ group is the only age segment on a consistent upward trend, as it climbs to over one-third of the population. The percentage of the population under 35 is steady between 40% 45% of the population. This is consistent with general national trends where the 55+ age group has been growing as a result of increased life expectancies and the baby boomer population entering that age group. See Figure 3.

City of Suffolk: Population by Age Segments 100% 90%

80% 70% 60%

55+

50%

35-54

40%

18-34

30%

<18

20% 10% 0% 2010 Census

2013 Estimate

2018 2023 2028 Projection Projection Projection

Figure 3-Population Age by Segments

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Parks and Recreation Department RACE AND ETHNICITY In analyzing race and ethnicity, the population is heavily concentrated in the two largest race segments. The 2013 estimate shows that 52.25% of the population falls into the White Alone category, and 42.7% are Black Alone. Predictions for 2028 expect the population to remain consistent, as the White Alone increases slightly to 52.96% and Black Alone decreases to 37.95%, while all remaining minorities combine to represent less than 10% of the total population. See Figure 4.

City of Suffolk: Population by Race 100% 90%

80% 70%

Two or More Races

60%

Some Other Race Pacific Islander

50%

Asian

40%

American Indian

30%

Black Alone

20%

White Alone

10% 0% 2010 Census

2013 Estimate

2018 2023 2028 Projection Projection Projection Figure 4- Population by Race

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Master Plan Update HOUSEHOLDS AND INCOME The City of Suffolkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s projected income characteristics demonstrate steady growth trends. The median household income is estimated to be $67,153 in 2013 and per capita income is an estimated $29,255. Household income is projected to grow to $99,682 by 2028, while per capita income will reach $42,815. The median household income represents the earnings of all persons age 16 years or older living together in a housing unit. (Figure 5).

City of Suffolk: Household Income Characteristics $140,000

Median Household Income

$120,000 $100,000

Average Household Income

$80,000

Per Capita Income

$60,000 $40,000 $20,000

$2013 Estimate

2018 Projection

2023 Projection

2028 Projection

Figure 5- Household Income Characteristics

As seen in Figure 6, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s median household income is above the state ($63,636) and national ($52,762) average. Per capita income falls below the state ($33,326), but above the national ($27,915) average.

City of Suffolk: Comparative Income Characteristics $80,000 $70,000 $60,000 City of Suffolk

$50,000

$40,000

Virginia

$30,000 U.S. A

$20,000 $10,000

$Median Household Income

Per Capita Income

Figure 6- Comparative Income Characteristics

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Parks and Recreation Department LEVEL OF EDUCATION The following chart depicts the education level of adults 25 years and older within the City of Suffolk. Approximately 86% of residents have at least a GED/alternative credential or high school diploma, and over 25% have a Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree or better.

Education Attained (25+ years old)

9.2%

4.6%

9.6%

< 9th Grade

16.6%

9-12 Grade (No Diploma) 23.6%

8.1%

High School Graduate GED/Alternative Credential Some College (No Degree)

5.3%

23.0%

Associate's Degree Bachelor's Degree Graduate/Professional Degree

Figure 7 - Education Attained

MARITAL STATUS The chart below illustrates the marital status among residents within the target area. Approximately 56% of the population is married, while 26.4% are single and never have married.

Marital Status

11.2%

26.4%

6.4%

Never Married

Married Widowed

56.0%

Divorced

Figure 8 - Marital Status

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Master Plan Update UNEMPLOYMENT RATE The following represents the rate of unemployment in Suffolk. With 6.6% of residents unemployed, the target area is slightly higher than the national unemployment rate.

Civilian Population in Labor Force (16+ years old)

6.6%

Employed Unemployed 93.4%

Figure 9 - Employment Rate

RECREATION EXPENDITURES The chart below reveals household spending on select recreational activities and equipment within the City of Suffolk. Total and average spending are based on 31,551 households. The index for each expenditure allows for comparison to the national average for recreational spending, where 100 is the average. An index of 50 would mean a resident is half as likely to spend money on an item, while an index of 200 would indicate residents are twice as likely to spend. As seen below, residents of Suffolk are well above average for the majority of recreational expenditures evaluate and this indicates a higher than average level of interest for recreation activities (exceptions being camping equipment and hunting and fishing equipment). Suffolk Recreation Expenditures Expenditure Admission to Sporting Events, excl. Trips Fees for Participant Sports, ecl. Trips Fees for Recreational Lessons Membership Fees for Social/Recreation/Civic Clubs Camp Fees Rental of RVs or Boats Exercise Equipment and Gear, Game Tables Bicycles Camping Equipment Hunting and Fishing Equipment Winter Sports Equipment Water Sports Equipment Rental/Repair of Sports/Recreation/Exercise Equipment

Index 120 116 113 117 121 116 111 114 60 81 101 108 113

Figure 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Recreation Expenditures

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Avg Spent Total Spent $75.62 $2,385,772 $136.75 $4,314,594 $140.73 $4,440,314 $195.77 $6,176,784 $43.99 $1,388,076 $9.64 $304,247 $75.11 $2,369,666 $29.14 $919,300 $11.14 $351,543 $33.11 $1,044,598 $7.10 $224,032 $7.20 $227,283 $4.32 $136,153


Parks and Recreation Department

RECREATION TRENDS ANALYSIS The following tables summarize the findings from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2014 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report, as well as the local market potential index data, which compares the demand for recreational activities and spending of Suffolk residents to the national averages. Summary of National Participatory Trends Analysis 1. Number of “inactives” decreased slightly, those ‘active to a healthy level’ on the rise a. “Inactives” down 0.4% in 2013, from 80.4 million to 80.2 million b. Approximately one-third of Americans (ages 6+) are active to a healthy level 2. Most popular sport and recreational activities a. Fitness Walking (117 million) b. Running/Jogging (54 million) c. Treadmill (48 million) 3. Most participated in team sports a. Basketball (23.7 million) b. Tennis (17.7 million) c. Baseball (13.3 million) 4. Activities most rapidly growing over last five years a. Adventure Racing – up 159% b. Non-traditional/Off-road Triathlon – up 156% c. Traditional/Road Triathlon – up 140% d. Squash – up 115% e. Rugby – up 81% 5. Activities most rapidly declining over last five years a. Wrestling – down 45% b. In-line Roller Skating – down 40% c. Touch Football – down 32% d. Horseback Riding – down 29% e. Slow-pitch Softball – down 29%

Summary of Local Market Potential Index Analysis 1. Suffolk exhibits below average market potential for sport and leisure activities 2. Top recreational activities in Suffolk compared to the national average a. Money spent on sports/rec equipment in last 12 mo ($250+) b. Attended football game- college/NFL c. Attended high school sports

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Master Plan Update Information released by Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2014 Study of Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Participation reveals that the most popular sport and recreational activities include: fitness walking, treadmill, running/jogging, free weights and bicycling. Most of these activities appeal to both young and old alike, can be done in most environments, are enjoyed regardless of level of skill, and have minimal economic barriers to entry. These popular activities also have appeal because of the social aspect. For example, although fitness activities are mainly self-directed, people enjoy walking and biking with other individuals because it can offer a degree of camaraderie. Fitness walking has remained the most popular activity of the past decade by a large margin. Walking participation during the latest year data was available (2013), reported over 117 million Americans had walked for fitness at least once. From a traditional team sport standpoint, basketball ranks highest among all sports, with nearly 24 million people reportedly participating in 2013. Team sports that have experienced significant growth in participation are rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, gymnastics, beach volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee– all of which have experienced double digit growth over the last five years. Most recently, rugby, field hockey, and lacrosse underwent the most rapid growth among team sports from 2012 to 2013. In the past year, there has been a slight 0.4% decrease of “inactives” in America, from 80.4 million in 2012 to 80.2 million in 2013. According to the Physical Activity Council, an “inactive” is defined as an individual that doesn’t take part in any “active” sport. Even more encouraging is that an estimated 33.9% of Americans above the age of 6 are active to a healthy level, taking part in a high calorie burning activity three or more times per week. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) Sports, Fitness & Recreational Activities Topline Participation Report 2014 was utilized to evaluate national sport and fitness participatory trends. SFIA is the number one source for sport and fitness research. The study is based on online interviews carried out in January and February of 2014 from more than 19,000 individuals and households. NOTE: In 2012, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) came into existence after a two-year strategic review and planning process with a refined mission statement-- “To Promote Sports and Fitness Participation and Industry Vitality”. The SFIA was formerly known as the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA).

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Parks and Recreation Department

3.2.1 NATIONAL TRENDS IN GENERAL SPORTS Basketball, a game originating in the U.S., is actually the most participated in sport among the traditional “bat and ball” sports with almost 24 million estimated participants. This popularity can be attributed to the ability to compete with relatively small number of participants, the limited amount of equipment needed to participate, and the limited space requirements necessary – the last of which make basketball the only traditional sport that can be played at the majority of American dwellings as a drive-way pickup game. As seen in Figure 7, since 2008, squash and other niche sports like lacrosse and rugby have seen strong growth. Squash has emerged as the overall fastest growing sport, as it has seen participation levels rise by nearly 115% over the last five years. Based on survey findings from 2008-2013, rugby and lacrosse have also experienced significant growth, increasing by 80.9% and 66% respectively. Other sports with notable growth in participation over the last five years were field hockey (31.4%), ice hockey (27.9%), gymnastics (25.1%), and beach volleyball (18.5%). From 2012 to 2013, the fastest growing sports were rugby (33.4%), field hockey (19.2%), lacrosse (12.8%), and squash (9.6%). During the last five years, the sports that are most rapidly declining include wrestling (45.2% decrease), touch football (down 32%), and slow pitch softball (28.9% decrease). In terms of total participants, the most popular activities in the general sports category in 2013 include basketball (23.7 million), tennis (17.7 million), baseball (13.3 million), outdoor soccer (12.7 million), and slow pitch softball (6.9 million). Although three out of five of these sports have been declining in recent years, the sheer number of participants demands the continued support of these activities. National Participatory Trends - General Sports Participation Levels 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Baseball 15,539 14,429 14,198 13,561 12,976 Basketball 26,108 25,131 25,156 24,790 23,708 Cheerleading 3,192 3,070 3,134 3,049 3,244 Field Hockey 1,122 1,092 1,182 1,147 1,237 Football, Flag 7,310 6,932 6,660 6,325 5,865 Football, Tackle 7,816 7,243 6,850 6,448 6,220 Football, Touch 10,493 9,726 8,663 7,684 7,295 Gymnastics 3,975 3,952 4,418 4,824 5,115 Ice Hockey 1,871 2,018 2,140 2,131 2,363 Lacrosse 1,092 1,162 1,423 1,501 1,607 Racquetball 4,611 4,784 4,603 4,357 4,070 Roller Hockey 1,569 1,427 1,374 1,237 1,367 Rugby 654 720 940 850 887 Soccer (Indoor) 4,487 4,825 4,920 4,631 4,617 Soccer (Outdoor) 13,996 13,957 13,883 13,667 12,944 Softball (Fast Pitch) 2,331 2,476 2,513 2,400 2,624 Softball (Slow Pitch) 9,660 9,180 8,477 7,809 7,411 Squash 659 796 1,031 1,112 1,290 Tennis 17,749 18,546 18,719 17,772 17,020 Track and Field 4,604 4,480 4,383 4,341 4,257 Ultimate Frisbee 4,459 4,636 4,571 4,868 5,131 Volleyball (Court) 7,588 7,737 7,315 6,662 6,384 Volleyball (Sand/Beach) 4,025 4,324 4,752 4,451 4,505 Wrestling 3,335 3,170 2,536 1,971 1,922 NOTE: Participation figures are in 000's for the US population ages 6 and over Activity

Legend:

Large Increase (greater than 25%)

Moderate Increase (0% to 25%)

2013 13,284 23,669 3,235 1,474 5,610 6,165 7,140 4,972 2,393 1,813 3,824 1,298 1,183 4,803 12,726 2,498 6,868 1,414 17,678 4,071 5,077 6,433 4,769 1,829

Moderate Decrease (0% to -25%)

12-13 2.4% -0.2% -0.3% 19.2% -4.3% -0.9% -2.1% -2.8% 1.3% 12.8% -6.0% -5.0% 33.4% 4.0% -1.7% -4.8% -7.3% 9.6% 3.9% -4.4% -1.1% 0.8% 5.9% -4.8%

Large Decrease (less than -25%)

Figure 7-General Sports Participatory Trends

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11-13 -2.0% -4.5% 6.1% 28.5% -11.3% -4.4% -7.1% 3.1% 12.3% 20.8% -12.2% 4.9% 39.2% 3.7% -6.9% 4.1% -12.1% 27.2% -0.5% -6.2% 4.3% -3.4% 7.1% -7.2%

% Change 10-13 -6.4% -5.9% 3.2% 24.7% -15.8% -10.0% -17.6% 12.5% 11.8% 27.4% -16.9% -5.5% 25.9% -2.4% -8.3% -0.6% -19.0% 37.1% -5.6% -7.1% 11.1% -12.1% 0.4% -27.9%

09-13 -7.9% -5.8% 5.4% 35.0% -19.1% -14.9% -26.6% 25.8% 18.6% 56.0% -20.1% -9.0% 64.3% -0.5% -8.8% 0.9% -25.2% 77.6% -4.7% -9.1% 9.5% -16.9% 10.3% -42.3%

08-13 -14.5% -9.3% 1.3% 31.4% -23.3% -21.1% -32.0% 25.1% 27.9% 66.0% -17.1% -17.3% 80.9% 7.0% -9.1% 7.2% -28.9% 114.6% -0.4% -11.6% 13.9% -15.2% 18.5% -45.2%


Master Plan Update

3.2.2 NATIONAL TRENDS IN AQUATIC ACTIVITY Swimming is unquestionably a lifetime sport. Swimming activities have remained very popular among Americans, and both competition and fitness swimming have witnessed an increase in participation recently. Fitness swimming is the absolute leader in multigenerational appeal with over 26 million reported participants in 2013, a 13.5% increase from the previous year (Figure 8). NOTE: In 2011, recreational swimming was broken into competition and fitness categories in order to better identify key trends. Aquatic Exercise has a strong participation base, but has recently experienced a downward trend. Aquatic exercise has paved the way for a less stressful form of physical activity, allowing similar gains and benefits to land based exercise, including aerobic fitness, resistance training, flexibility, and better balance. Doctors have begun recommending aquatic exercise for injury rehabilitation, mature patients, and patients with bone or joint problems due to the significant reduction of stress placed on weight-bearing joints, bones, muscles, and also the affect that the pressure of the water assists in reducing swelling of injuries.

National Participatory Trends - Aquatics Participation Levels 2008 2009 2010 2011 Aquatic Exercise 9,512 8,965 8,947 9,042 Swimming (Competition) N/A N/A N/A 2,363 Swimming (Fitness) N/A N/A N/A 21,517 NOTE: Participation figures are in 000's for the US population ages 6 and over Activity

Legend:

Large Increase (greater than 25%)

Moderate Increase (0% to 25%)

2012 9,177 2,502 23,216

2013 8,483 2,638 26,354

Moderate Decrease (0% to -25%)

Figure 8- Aquatic Participatory Trends

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12-13 -7.6% 5.4% 13.5%

11-13 -6.2% 11.6% 22.5%

Large Decrease (less than -25%)

% Change 10-13 -5.2% N/A N/A

09-13 -5.4% N/A N/A

08-13 -10.8% N/A N/A


Parks and Recreation Department

3.2.3 NATIONAL TRENDS IN GENERAL FITNESS National participatory trends in general fitness have experienced some strong growth in recent years. Many of these activities have become popular due to an increased interest among people to improve their health by engaging in an active lifestyle. These activities also have very few barriers to entry, which provides a variety of activities that are relatively inexpensive to participate in and can be performed by nearly anyone with no time restrictions. The most popular fitness activity by far is fitness walking, which had over 117 million participants in 2013, which was a 2.9% increase from the previous year. Other leading fitness activities based on number of participants include running/jogging (over 54 million), treadmill (48.1 million), and hand free weights (43.2 million), and weight/resistant machines (36.3 million). Over the last five years, the activities that are growing most rapidly are high impact aerobics (up 47.1%), yoga (up 36.9%), running/jogging (up 31.9%), cardio kickboxing (28.7% increase), and group stationary cycling (up 27.8%). Most recently, from 2012-2013, the largest gains in participation were in boxing for fitness (8.7% increase), Tai Chi (up 8.3%), and high impact aerobics (up 7.1%). See Figure 9.

National Participatory Trends - General Fitness Participation Levels 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Aerobics (High Impact) 11,780 12,771 14,567 15,755 16,178 Aerobics (Low Impact) 23,283 24,927 26,431 25,950 25,707 Aerobics (Step) 9,423 10,551 11,034 10,273 9,577 Boxing for Fitness N/A N/A 4,788 4,631 4,831 Calisthenics 8,888 9,127 9,097 8,787 9,356 Cross-Training N/A N/A N/A 7,706 7,496 Cardio Kickboxing 4,905 5,500 6,287 6,488 6,725 Elliptical Motion Trainer 24,435 25,903 27,319 29,734 28,560 Fitness Walking 110,204 110,882 112,082 112,715 114,029 Free Weights (Barbells) 25,821 26,595 27,194 27,056 26,688 Free Weights (Dumbells) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Free Weights (Hand Weights) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Martial Arts 6,818 6,643 6,002 5,037 5,075 Pilates Training 9,039 8,770 8,404 8,507 8,519 Running/Jogging 41,097 42,511 46,650 50,061 51,450 Stair Climbing Machine 13,863 13,653 13,269 13,409 12,979 Stationary Cycling (Group) 6,504 6,762 7,854 8,738 8,477 Stationary Cycling (Recumbent) 11,104 11,299 11,459 11,933 11,649 Stationary Cycling (Upright) 24,918 24,916 24,578 24,409 24,338 Stretching 36,235 36,299 35,720 34,687 35,873 Tai Chi 3,424 3,315 3,193 2,975 3,203 Treadmill 49,722 50,395 52,275 53,260 50,839 Weight/Resistant Machines 38,844 39,075 39,185 39,548 38,999 Yoga 17,758 18,934 20,998 22,107 23,253 NOTE: Participation figures are in 000's for the US population ages 6 and over Activity

Legend:

Large Increase (greater than 25%)

Moderate Increase (0% to 25%)

2013 17,323 25,033 8,961 5,251 9,356 6,911 6,311 27,119 117,351 25,641 32,309 43,164 5,314 8,069 54,188 12,642 8,309 11,159 24,088 36,202 3,469 48,166 36,267 24,310

12-13 7.1% -2.6% -6.4% 8.7% 0.0% -7.8% -6.2% -5.0% 2.9% -3.9% N/A N/A 4.7% -5.3% 5.3% -2.6% -2.0% -4.2% -1.0% 0.9% 8.3% -5.3% -7.0% 4.5%

Moderate Decrease (0% to -25%)

Figure 9- General Fitness National Participatory Trends

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11-13 10.0% -3.5% -12.8% 13.4% 6.5% -10.3% -2.7% -8.8% 4.1% -5.2% N/A N/A 5.5% -5.1% 8.2% -5.7% -4.9% -6.5% -1.3% 4.4% 16.6% -9.6% -8.3% 10.0%

Large Decrease (less than -25%)

% Change 10-13 09-13 18.9% 35.6% -5.3% 0.4% -18.8% -15.1% 9.7% N/A 2.8% 2.5% N/A N/A 0.4% 14.7% -0.7% 4.7% 4.7% 5.8% -5.7% -3.6% N/A N/A N/A N/A -11.5% -20.0% -4.0% -8.0% 16.2% 27.5% -4.7% -7.4% 5.8% 22.9% -2.6% -1.2% -2.0% -3.3% 1.3% -0.3% 8.6% 4.6% -7.9% -4.4% -7.4% -7.2% 15.8% 28.4%

08-13 47.1% 7.5% -4.9% N/A 5.3% N/A 28.7% 11.0% 6.5% -0.7% N/A N/A -22.1% -10.7% 31.9% -8.8% 27.8% 0.5% -3.3% -0.1% 1.3% -3.1% -6.6% 36.9%


Master Plan Update

3.2.4 NATIONAL TRENDS IN GENERAL RECRE ATION Results from the SFIAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Topline Participation Report demonstrate increased popularity among Americans in numerous general recreation activities. Much like the general fitness activities, these activities encourage an active lifestyle, can be performed individually or with a group, and are not limited by time restraints. In 2013, the most popular activities in the general recreation category include road bicycling (over 40 million participants), freshwater fishing (nearly 38 million participants), and day hiking (over 34 million participants). From 2008-2013, general recreation activities that have undergone very rapid growth are adventure racing (up 159%), non-traditional/off-road triathlons (up 156%), traditional/road triathlons (up 139.9%), and trail running (up 49.7%). In-line roller skating, horseback riding, and skateboarding have all seen a substantial drop in participation, decreasing by 40%, 29.4%, and 21.8% respectively over the last five years. See Figure 10.

National Participatory Trends - General Recreation Participation Levels 2008 2009 2010 2011 Adventure Racing 809 1,005 1,214 1,202 Archery 6,180 6,368 6,323 6,471 Bicycling (Mountain) 7,242 7,367 7,152 6,989 Bicycling (Road) 38,527 39,127 39,730 39,834 Bicycling (BMX) 1,896 1,858 2,090 1,958 Camping (Recreational Vehicle) 16,343 16,977 16,651 16,282 Camping (Within 1/4 Mile of Vehicle/Home) 32,531 34,012 32,667 31,961 Climbing (Sport/Indoor/Boulder) 4,642 4,541 4,542 4,445 Climbing (Traditional/Ice/Mountaineering) 2,175 2,062 2,017 1,904 Fishing (Fly) 5,849 5,755 5,523 5,581 Fishing (Freshwater) 42,095 40,646 39,911 38,864 Fishing (Saltwater) 14,121 13,054 12,056 11,896 Golf 28,571 27,103 26,122 25,682 Hiking (Day) 31,238 32,542 32,534 33,494 Horseback Riding 11,457 10,286 9,782 9,335 Hunting (Bow) 3,770 3,974 4,067 4,271 Hunting (Handgun) 2,734 2,575 2,493 2,690 Hunting (Rifle) 10,490 10,729 10,632 10,479 Hunting (Shotgun) 8,638 8,611 8,276 8,370 Roller Skating, In-Line 10,211 8,942 8,128 7,451 Shooting (Sport Clays) 4,199 4,232 4,291 4,296 Shooting (Trap/Skeet) 3,523 3,519 3,489 3,453 Skateboarding 8,118 7,580 7,080 6,318 Target Shooting (Handgun) 12,551 12,919 12,485 13,638 Target Shooting (Rifle) 12,769 12,916 12,637 13,032 Trail Running 4,537 4,845 4,985 5,373 Triathlon (Non-Traditional/Off Road) 543 634 798 819 Triathlon (Traditional/Road) 943 1,148 1,593 1,686 NOTE: Participation figures are in 000's for the US population ages 6 and over Activity

Legend:

Large Increase (greater than 25%)

Moderate Increase (0% to 25%)

2012 1,618 7,173 7,265 39,790 1,861 15,903 31,454 4,355 2,189 5,848 39,002 12,000 25,280 34,519 8,423 4,354 3,112 10,485 8,426 6,647 4,544 3,591 6,227 15,418 13,853 5,806 1,075 1,789

2013 2,095 7,647 8,542 40,888 2,168 14,556 29,269 4,745 2,319 5,878 37,796 11,790 24,720 34,378 8,089 4,079 3,198 9,792 7,894 6,129 4,479 3,784 6,350 14,370 13,023 6,792 1,390 2,262

Moderate Decrease (0% to -25%)

12-13 29.5% 6.6% 17.6% 2.8% 16.5% -8.5% -6.9% 9.0% 5.9% 0.5% -3.1% -1.8% -2.2% -0.4% -4.0% -6.3% 2.8% -6.6% -6.3% -7.8% -1.4% 5.4% 2.0% -6.8% -6.0% 17.0% 29.3% 26.4%

Large Decrease (less than -25%)

Figure 10- General Recreation National Participatory Trends

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11-13 74.3% 18.2% 22.2% 2.6% 10.7% -10.6% -8.4% 6.7% 21.8% 5.3% -2.7% -0.9% -3.7% 2.6% -13.3% -4.5% 18.9% -6.6% -5.7% -17.7% 4.3% 9.6% 0.5% 5.4% -0.1% 26.4% 69.7% 34.2%

% Change 10-13 72.6% 20.9% 19.4% 2.9% 3.7% -12.6% -10.4% 4.5% 15.0% 6.4% -5.3% -2.2% -5.4% 5.7% -17.3% 0.3% 28.3% -7.9% -4.6% -24.6% 4.4% 8.5% -10.3% 15.1% 3.1% 36.2% 74.2% 42.0%

09-13 108.5% 20.1% 15.9% 4.5% 16.7% -14.3% -13.9% 4.5% 12.5% 2.1% -7.0% -9.7% -8.8% 5.6% -21.4% 2.6% 24.2% -8.7% -8.3% -31.5% 5.8% 7.5% -16.2% 11.2% 0.8% 40.2% 119.2% 97.0%

08-13 159.0% 23.7% 18.0% 6.1% 14.3% -10.9% -10.0% 2.2% 6.6% 0.5% -10.2% -16.5% -13.5% 10.1% -29.4% 8.2% 17.0% -6.7% -8.6% -40.0% 6.7% 7.4% -21.8% 14.5% 2.0% 49.7% 156.0% 139.9%


Parks and Recreation Department

3.2.5 LOCAL SPORT AND MARKET POTENTIAL The following charts show sport and leisure market potential data from ESRI. A Market Potential Data (MPI) measures the probable demand for a product or service in the City of Suffolk. The MPI shows the likelihood that an adult resident of the target area will participate in certain activities when compared to the US National average. The National average is 100, therefore numbers below 100 would represent a lower than average participation rate, and numbers above 100 would represent higher than average participation rate. The service area is compared to the national average in four (4) categories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; general sports, fitness, outdoor activity, and money spent on miscellaneous recreation. Overall, the city demonstrates high market potential index numbers in all categories. These high index numbers are significant because it demonstrates that there is tremendous potential that residents of the target area will actively participate in programs offered through the Parks & Recreation Department. Even more promising are the above average market potential figures for money spent on recreation, which indicates that not only are residents active participants, but they also are willing to spend money on recreational activities and equipment. These favorable market conditions highlight the potential of the department to offer a lineup of programming with high user participation and high elasticity in pricing. As seen in the tables below, the following sport and leisure trends are most prevalent for residents within target area. Cells highlighted in yellow indicate the top three scoring activities for each category based on the purchasing preferences of residents. GENERAL SPORTS MARKET POTENTIAL City of Suffolk Participatory Trends - General Sports Activity Participated in Baseball Participated in Basketball Participated in Football Participated in Golf Participated in Soccer Participated in Softball Participated in Tennis Participated in Volleyball

MPI 102 107 108 112 96 111 101 106

FITNESS MARKET POTENTIAL City of Suffolk Participatory Trends - Fitness Activity Participated in Aerobics Participated in Jogging/ Running Participated in Pilates Participated in Swimming Participated in Walking for Exercise Participated in Weight Lifting Participated in Yoga

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MPI 110 104 101 108 106 108 97


Master Plan Update OUTDOOR ACTIVITY MARKET POTENTIAL City of Suffolk Participatory Trends - Outdoor Activity Activity Participated in Backpacking Participated in Hiking Participated in Bicycling (mountain) Participated in Bicycling (road) Participated in Boating (Power) Participated in Canoeing/Kayaking Participated in Fishing (fresh water) Participated in Fishing (salt water) Participated in Horseback Riding

MPI 97 108 111 106 114 101 112 102 105

MONEY SPENT ON MISCELLANEOUS RECREATION City of Suffolk Participatory Trends - Money Spent on Recreation Activity Spent on sports/rec equipment in last 12 mo: $1-99 Spent on sports/rec equipment in last 12 mo: $100-249 Spent on sports/rec equipment in last 12 mo: $250+ Attend sports event Attend sports event: baseball game - MLB reg seas Attend sports event: basketball game (college) Attend sports event: basketball game - NBA reg seas Attend sports event: football game (college) Attend sports event: football game - NFL Mon/Thurs Attend sports event: football game - NFL weekend Attend sports event: high school sports Attend sports event: ice hockey - NHL reg seas Went on overnight camping trip in last 12 months Visited a theme park in last 12 months Went to zoo in last 12 months

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MPI 108 110 117 111 105 113 106 117 108 117 116 106 106 104 113


Parks and Recreation Department

PARKS, FACILITIES, AND PROGRAM NEEDS ANALYSIS PROGRAM ASSESSMENT As part of the planning process, PROS performed an assessment of the programs and services offered by Suffolk, Virginia. The assessment offers an in-depth perspective of program and service offerings and helps identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities regarding programming for residents in parks and recreation facilities. The program assessment also assists in identifying what are considered core programs, program gaps within the community, key system-wide program issues, and areas for improvement and in determining future programs and services for residents. PROS based these program findings and comments from a review of information provided by the City including program descriptions, participation statistics, financial data, website content, focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and discussions with staff. It identifies key issues and presents recommendations for these issues, summarized at the end of this section.

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Master Plan Update

4.1.1 EXISTING CORE PROGRAM ARE AS The core program areas for the Department are listed below. It is important to recognize that limits on the Department’s staffing, resources, and availability of space may hinder some of the staff efforts to maintain or expand core programs; therefore, it is essential that staff commit to a concerted effort towards managing and prioritizing core program areas throughout fluctuations in resources availability. SPECIAL EVENTS Special Events that are sponsored by the City are hosted by the business services division and are designed to engage the citizens in a sense of community. Our events are free, open to the public and have activities to meet needs in each age group. 

Goal - The internal goals of the special events are to create community engaging activities that bring people together.

ART AND CULTURE Art and Culture programs provide visitors of all ages, economic status and social background an opportunity to enjoy cultural art activities through on and offsite exhibits, classes and free events. 

Goal - Provide Arts and Culture programs and services for a diverse community that are customer focused.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS Health and Wellness programs provide the community with health and wellness opportunities through the use of group exercise, personal training, well trained and educated fitness staff and two (2) full service fitness center. 

Goal - Provide the community with health and wellness opportunities that lead to health benefits.

YOUTH ATHLETICS Youth Athletic programs provide the community with athletic leagues, camps and clinics for children ages 4 to 15 in a variety of sports. 

Goal - Provide recreation opportunities and increase participation through camps, clinics and competitive athletics for youth ages 4 to 15.

ADULT ATHLETICS Adult Athletic programs provide athletic leagues and tournaments for adults ages 18 and up. 

Goal - Provide recreation opportunity and increase participation through competitive athletics for adults ages 18 and up.

ACTIVE ADULTS Active Adult programs provide active recreation and healthy living opportunities to active adults ages 55 and up. 

Goal – Improving health, wellness and socialization of older active adults.

AQUATICS Aquatic programs provide swimming lessons for youth and adults, group swim and open swim to the community. 

Goal – Provide aquatic opportunities in the summer for individuals of all ages in the form of swim lessons, socialization and having fun while swimming.

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Parks and Recreation Department OUT OF SCHOOL TIME Out of School Time programs provides a caring, enriching, and safe environment for children. Participants will build social skills, learn the basic principles of trust, caring, and respect, as well as participate in educational and recreational activities. 

Goal – Provide children with a safe, fun and caring environment which displays the 3 pillars of recreation: social equity, health and wellness, conservation.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION Outdoor Education programs offer opportunities for all age groups to learn about nature and conservation through educational programs and outdoor adventure programs. 

Goal – Growth is a goal, as well as more diversity in participants, and an effort to include more people who are not comfortable in the outdoors. Build a strong partnership with the schools through outreach programs.

PREVENTION & SOCIAL EQUITY Prevention and Social Equity programs are for youth ages 21 and under. 

Goal – To provide positive opportunities for all youth within the community regardless of social or economic status.

THERAPEUTIC Therapeutic Recreation offers programs for individuals with disabilities. 

Goal – To provide individuals with special needs the opportunity to engage in social and recreational opportunities.

46


Master Plan Update

4.1.2 RECOMMENDATIONS REPOSITIONED PROGRAM AREA With an increased focus on wellness as well as healthy living including diet and nutrition, it may be beneficial to expand the Health and Wellness programs. Also, given the unique differences in age segment needs along with the City’s aging population demographics, there may be an opportunity to have separate Youth Health and Wellness programs and Adult Health and Wellness programs as well. 4.1.3 LIFECYCLE ANALYSIS The program assessment included a lifecycle analysis completed by staff members. The listing of programs is included in the chart on the following page. This assessment was not based on quantitative data, but based on staff’s knowledge of their program areas. These lifecycles can, and often do, change from year to year or over time depending on how the programs fare. The following table shows the percentage distribution of the various lifecycle categories of the Department’s 131 recreation programs as listed by the staff:

Lifecycle Stage

Description

Actual Program Distribution

Introduction

New program; modest participation

27%

Take-Off

Rapid participation growth

15%

Growth

Moderate, but consistent population growth

32%

Mature

Slow participation growth

Saturation Decline

Recommended Distribution

74% total

50-60% total

18%

18%

40%

Minimal to no participation growth; extreme competition

4%

Declining participation

5%

9% total

0-10% total

These percentages were obtained by comparing the number of programs listed in each individual stage with the total number of programs listed in the program worksheets. The PROS team recognizes that while there is no statistically sound method for obtaining the percentage breakout of all programs by lifecycle stages, the overall pattern and trends are apparent in the Program Lifecycle table. The lifecycles depict an inclining trend. Nearly 75% of all programs are in the Introduction, Take-Off, and Growth stage, which show concern that too many programs are just recently being introduced and not enough of them are in the mature stage.

47


Parks and Recreation Department RECOMMENDATIONS The PROS team recommends that the staff track program lifecycles on an annual basis to ensure there are a decreasing number of programs in the Saturated to Decline stage while ensuring an increased number of programs in the Introduction stage. It is recommended that programs from Saturated to Decline should comprise no more than 10% of the total program mix. Additionally, the bottom 5% of all poorly performing programs must be eliminated or repositioned to ensure the cycle of program innovation continues. It would also be helpful to establish performance metric to ensure a set percentage of programs should be in the Decline stage at any given time, and any programs staying in that stage for two years should be repositioned or eliminated in favor of new programs. Stage in Program Lifecycle Introduction

Take-Off

Growth

Mature

Saturated

Decline

Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo

Suffolk Harvest Festival

Taste of Suffolk

Eggstravaganza

Men's Softball

Craft Show March of Dimes

Silver Ring

Zumba Group Exercise

TGIF Summer Concert Series

Stars & Stripes Spectacular

Church Softball

Gelli Printmaking

MixxedFit Group Exercise

Lunch w ith Santa

Holiday Parade

Basketball

FAME

PMC Silver Gifts

Drop In Program

Chalk Art

Grand Illumination

Outdoor Soccer

Senior Choir

VMFA class Chine Colle"

Play Days

Gospel Show case

Quilt Group

Youth Baseball

Wire and Metal Jew elry

HOOTenanny

Bridge Group

Poetry Prose and Pizza

PMC Bronze

Fall Leaf Canoe Tours

Decoy

Museum Trip

PMC Silver Locket

Bats of Virginia

Santa Carving

Off-site Art Exhibits

Metal Jew elry

Youth Archery

Gifted Students Visit

Book Signing

PMC Fused Glass

Increase the Peace Fashion Show

Planet Fun

Adult and Child CPR/AED Certification

PMC Ring

Planet Fun

Art Day Summer Series

Personal Fitness Training

Crochet

Teen Summit

Art Camp

Personal Fitness Assessment

Glass Blow ing

Job Readiness

Daycare Art Days

Movies & Munchies

Art Teacher Inservice

Adult Aerobics

Peanut Fest

Youth & Teen Night Out

PMC Enamel

Active Adult Memberships

Yard Sale

Outdoor Adventure Kamp

Group Spin Group Exercise

Public Open Sw im

VMFA Lectures 2

Children's Learning Garden

Fit Factory Group Exercise

Volleyball

On-site Art Exhibits

Earth Day

Lights on Afterschool

Ping Pong

Bootcamp Group Exercise

Thank Your Mentor Day

Boating Safety

Challenger Soccer Camp

Women On Weights Group Exercise

Peanut Fest Bingo

Nature Detectives

Fitness Center Memberships

Kickball

National Kids to Parks Day

Strength Training 5K Run/Walk

Youth Basketball

Roaving Ranger

Adult Aerobics

Tennis

Tick Outreach

Kid Zone Before & After

7 Cities Girls Bball Youth Cheerleading

Walking Club

Rec N Crew

Active Adult Prom

Spring Break Camp

Adult Sw im Lessons

Summer Program

Coed Softball

DGIF Quota Hunt

Ultimate Frisbee

Youth Fishing Day

Soccer

Global Youth Service Day

Dodgeball

Youth Achievement Aw ards

Pickleball

757 ProtĂŠgĂŠ Mentor Program

Ready, Set, Play

Suffolk Youth Advisory Council

Breakfast w ith Santa

Group Exercise

Lunch Social

Holiday Gala

TR-Outdoor Adventure

Youth Sw im Lesson

Pool Rental Flag Football

Summer Camp Sw im Lesson Tennis Indoor Soccer Hook A Kid On Golf Basketball Clinics Karate Pitch, Hit & Run

New program; modest participation

27%

15%

32%

18%

4%

35

19

42

24

5

6

131

131

131

131

131

131

Rapid participation growth

Moderate, but consistent participation growth

Slow participation growth

48

Minimal to no participation growth; extreme competition

5%

Declining participation


Master Plan Update

4.1.4 AGE SEGMENT DISTRIBU TION In addition to the lifecycle analysis, staff also assessed the age segment distribution of programs. Despite the fact that the adult and senior population represent over 50% of the local population (median age 37.7 years), the balance of age segment distribution for programs is skewed towards youth. Based on the program list provided by the staff, 60% of all programming is geared towards ages 24 and below. It is typical nation-wide for agencies to focus heavily on youth and families. Only 20% of programs cater to the 45+ population. The 55+ population is expected to grow to over 32% of total population by 2028. It would be appropriate for the staff to view the age segment distributions on an annual basis to ensure continued rebalancing among skewed categories. Also, if possible, given the differences in how the active adults (55+) participate in recreation programs, the trend is moving toward having at least two different segments of older adults. The Department could evaluate further splitting program offerings into 55â&#x20AC;&#x201C;74 and 75 plus program segments.

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.1.5 PROGRAM FINANCI AL AS SESSMENT Finding ways to enhance revenue year-on-year and improve service pricing strategies are a priority for the Department. To that end, the consulting team conducted a review of program cost recovery strategies based upon information provided by Department’s staff. COST RECOVERY STRATEGIES Currently, cost recovery performance is not tracked at a program level. PROS recommends using core programs areas as a basis for categorization. Cost recovery targets should be identified for each program area, at least, and for specific programs or events if necessary. The previously identified core programs would serve as an effective breakdown for tracking cost recovery metrics, which would theoretically group programs with similar cost recovery and subsidy goals. Targets should reflect the degree to which the program area provides a public versus private good. Programs providing public benefits should be subsidized more; programs providing private benefits should seek to recover costs and/or generate revenue for other services. Generally, non-core programs, which are less critical to the organizational mission, should aim to yield a higher cost recovery rate to sustain them, leaving the limited taxbased appropriations to fund core programs. To assist plan and implement cost recovery policies, PROS has developed the following definitions presented in the table below to help classify specific programs within program areas.

Category

Description

Cost Recovery

Subsidy

Core-Essential

 Part of the organizational mission  Serves a majority of the community  “We must offer this program.”

None to moderate

High to complete

Important

 Important to the community  Serves large portions of the community  “We should offer this program.”

Moderate

Moderate

Value-Added

 Enhanced community offerings  Serves niche groups  “It would be nice to offer this program.”

High to complete

Little to none

Programs falling into the Important or Value-Added classifications generally represent programs that receive lower priority for tax subsidization. Important programs contribute to the organizational mission but are not essential to it; therefore, cost recovery for these programs should be high (i.e., at least 80% overall). Valueadded programs are not critical to the mission and should be prevented from drawing upon limited public funding, so overall cost recovery for these programs should be near to or in excess of 100%.

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Master Plan Update

To develop specific cost recovery targets, full cost of accounting should be created on each class or program that accurately calculates direct and indirect costs. Cost recovery goals are established once these numbers are in place, and the Department’s program staff should be trained on this process. The following table represents where the Department’s staff portrays each program: Essential

Important

TGIF Summer Concert Series

Grand Illumination

Value-Added Bridge Club

Taste of Suffolk

Lunch w ith Santa

Museum trips

Holiday Parade

Peanut Fest

Book Signing

Stars & Stripes Spectacular

Kid Zone Play Days

Personal FitnessTraining

Planet Fun

Spring Break Camp

Personal Fitness Assessment

Art Day Summer Series

Youth Fishing Day

Movies & Munchies

Art Camp

Children's Learning Garden

Youth Archery

Daycare Art Days

757 Protégé Mentor Program

Global Youth Services Day

Kid Zone Before & After School Program

Suffolk Youth Advisory Council

Thank Your Mentor Day

Summer Programs

Holiday Gala

Line Dancing

Rec N Crew

Youth Baseball

Pool Rental

Earth Day

7 Cities Girls Basketball League

Adult Sports (Ping Pong, Ultimate Frisbee, Kickball, Pickleball, Dodgeball, Volleyball)

Eggstravaganza

Basketball Clinics (Hoops for Life and Spring Break)

Hook A Kid On Golf Camp

Boating Safety

Youth Achievement Aw ards

Contractor Instruction Classes (Karate)

Adult and Child CPR/AED Certification

Youth Tennis

Challenger Soccer Camp

Nature Detectives

Youth Indoor Soccer

Pitch, Hit and Run

Walking Club

Youth Basketball

Fitness Center Memberships Outdoor Adventure Kamp

Nutrition Class

Youth Cheerleading

Summer Camp Sw im Lessons

Youth Outdoor Soccer

Hootenanny

Youth / Adult Sw im Lessons

National Kids to Parks Day

Bats of Virginia

Department of Game and Inland Fishery Quota Hunts

Job Readiness

Garden Club

Teen Summit

On site art exhibits

Adult Tennis

Public Open Sw im

Suffolk Harvest Festival

Ready, Set, Play

Bootcamp Exercise Classes

Breakfast w ith Santa

Zumba Exercise Classes

Lunch Social

Women On Weights Exercise Classes

TR Outdoor Adventure Program

5K Strength! Exercise Classes Group Spin Exercise Classes MixxedFit Exercise Classes Fit Factory Exercise Classes Poetry, Prose and Pizza Adult Aerobic Exercise Classes Youth & Teen Night Out Fall Leaf Canoe Tours March of Dimes Fishing Tournament Tick Outreach Roaving Ranger Increase the Peace Fashion Show Adult Softball (Church / Men's / Coed) Adult Basketball Adult Flag Football League Art Classes (Decoy, Gelli Printmaking, Wire and Metal Jew ellery, Crochet, Glass Blow ing etc.)

Part of the Mission / Serves majority of the Community / Highest Level of Subsidy offered

Important to the community / Serves the broad community / Some level of subsidy offered

Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo Enhanced Community Offering / Serves niche groups / Limited to no subsidy

MUST OFFER THIS

SHOULD OFFER THIS

WOULD BE NICE TO OFFER THIS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.1.6 SPONSORS / PARTNERS AND VOLUNTEERS SPONSORS / PARTNERS Currently, the Department has multiple partners such as the Suffolk Public Schools, Obici Health Care Foundation, Suffolk Art League, VA Department of Forestry, etc. Most of the partners have formal agreements with the Department that help maintain trails, cover program cost, provide their services and/or spaces for programs and events, etc. In order to truly sell the potential benefits of partnering with the system, there is a need to develop a focused sponsorship campaign and a proposal for tiered sponsorship levels. However, there is very little information on the website about becoming a sponsor/partner of the Department. This information should be highlighted front and center on the website describing not only how to become a sponsor/partner but also the benefits of becoming a partner. Additionally, to garner sponsorship dollars it would be helpful for the Department to provide detailed listings of each event, the participation numbers and user demographics which would help potential sponsors to identify how well the park system participants align with the sponsorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s target market and choose the right fit for them. These metrics will also help the Department evaluate its return on investment (ROI) for sponsorships / partnerships for various events. Some other recommendations would be to publish these metrics on the website and promote them aggressively. Other recommendations for Sponsorship include: Sponsor Recognition - Recognizing all existing or past sponsors for their support would strengthen working relationships with sponsors. The brochureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imagery could provide illustrations of promotions that may have been done or could be done to demonstrate sponsorship positioning. The Department should consider adding a page in the brochure thanking all of their current partners. Tiered Sponsorship Levels - It is essential to create tiered levels of sponsorship in order to allow all potential sponsors the ability to choose the level of support they wish to exhibit. Package Offerings - It has been seen that the greater the opportunities to package the offerings, the more the likelihood of selling sponsorship. Packaging sponsorship opportunities for Events as well as Signature Parks and Facilities could be a viable option to provide additional sponsor value as well. Providing sample packaging options that tie-in some signature special events with some of the smaller events would ensure that the staff up-sells events that may not be sold otherwise, while the partners receive more bang for their buck.

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Master Plan Update Crowd Funding This area can be operated in conjunction with the Foundation’s projects in looking for specific opportunities. Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.com, Razoo.com, Indiegogo.com, have extremely successful examples of public agencies that have successfully partnered and raised revenue to build or enhance parks and facilities, offer programs and even design marketing materials.

etc.

4.1.7 VOLUNTEERS PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS The Department has a wide variety of volunteers to help with their core programs. Although, the Department utilizes a wide variety of volunteers there is no place on the Department’s website (www.suffolkva.us/parks/) for individuals or organizations to sign up or learn about volunteer opportunities with the Department. PROS also encourages the Department to foster a system-wide approach to volunteer recruitment and management. Ensuring streamlined procedures and standardized guidelines for volunteer management are critical to making volunteers an effective complement to paid personnel and a valuable asset in reducing operational costs. When managed with respect and used strategically, volunteers can also serve as the primary advocates for the Department and its offerings. A key part of maintaining the desirability of volunteerism in the Department is developing a good reward and recognition system. The consultant team recommends using tactics similar to those found in frequent flier programs, wherein volunteers can use their volunteer hours to obtain early registration at programs, or discounted pricing at certain programs, rentals or events, or any other Department function. Other best practices that the Department should be aware of in managing volunteers includes:    

Identify volunteer opportunities system-wide, develop job descriptions and acceptance conditions for volunteers (such as background checks). Develop a tracking system to quantify the number of volunteer hours according to program area and specific function and document cost savings in more detailed ways. Develop documented volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition systems. Involve volunteers in cross-training to expose them to various departmental functions and increase their skill. This can also increase their utility, allowing for more flexibility in making work assignments, and can increase their appreciation and understanding of the Department. Add steps to formally document resignation or termination of volunteers. Also, include ways to monitor and track reasons for resignation/termination.

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.1.8 MARKETING AND WEBSITE MARKETING This section reviews the Departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marketing and promotions as gleaned from the program worksheets. As stated in the program assessment worksheets provided by staff, most programs are promoted via the Print and Online Program Guides, the Website, Flyers and Brochures, Email Blasts, In-Facility Promotions/Signage, and Special Events. There are also some instances of paid advertisements and even some radio and TV promotions. Areas of opportunity mentioned most frequently include building a Smart Phone enabled site, adding an on-hold pre-programmed phone message, and being more consistent on social media. Given the limited marketing dollars available, it would be helpful for the Department to undertake a marketing return on investment (ROI) assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing mediums undertaken and tailor future marketing spending to focus on the most effective mediums. This could be done by ensuring every registrant and as many on-site users as possible are asked â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;How did you hear about us?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Tying the participant responses to marketing mediums would allow for a better understanding of marketing spending and enable greater effectiveness of existing ones while eliminating non-effective mediums. Cross promoting at Special Events would be highly recommended. It is imperative that the Department take advantage of the presence of high numbers of relative captive audience in the special event environment to promote its other offerings, programs, facilities and rentals. Similar cross-promoting programs targeted towards the same age group audiences too should be highly encouraged. An example would be cross-promoting adult flag football leagues at adult basketball league games.

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Master Plan Update WEBSITE The current website is very user-friendly and drop-down menus make it very easy to access any information desired by a user. The scrolling flyers, highlighting the key events/programs are an excellent practice which directly drives user attention to upcoming activities they may not be aware of.

The use of Web 2.0 technology must be increased beyond what is currently used: Facebook and YouTube to other mediums such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well. The key to successful implementation of a social network is to move the participants from awareness to action and creating greater user engagement. This could be done by: 

Allowing controlled ‘user generated content’ by encouraging users to send in their pictures from the Department’s special events or programs

Introducing Facebook-only promotions to drive greater visitation to Facebook

Leverage the website to obtain customer feedback for programs, parks and facilities and customer service

Expand opportunities for Crowd-sourcing o

Some resources include www.mindmixer and www.peakdemocracy.com

Provide opportunities for Donations or Crowdfunding through the website o

www.kickstarter.org / www.indiegogo.com / www.razoo.com for Crowdfunding options including printing program guides or developing marketing material

Maximize the website’s revenue generating capabilities

Conduct annual website strategy workshop with the staff to identify ways and means that the website can support the Department

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Parks and Recreation Department SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS From the 2014 Nielsen, The Digital Consumer report, the following chart shows unique audience of social media websites and apps by platform. The chart illustrates that individuals are reaching for their smartphone versus a traditional computer to access social media platforms.

UNIQUE AUDIENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES AND APPS BY PLATFORM JULY 2012

JULY 2013

-10%

148,028,000 163,589,000 PC/COMPUTER BROWSERS

+37%

120,396,000 87,797,000 SMARTPHONE APP

The report also indicated that while Facebook remains the largest social network in both web and mobile, consumers are taking on other social media platforms such as Pinterest (triple unique users on smartphone apps), and Instragram (nearly double the number of unique users in 2013).

56

+26%

102,097,000 81,120,000 SMARTPHONE WEB BROWSERS


Master Plan Update

4.1.9 CUSTOMER SERVICE AND FEEDB ACK Customer service is at the root of the success of any organization. A true community-service organization prides itself on identifying its customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; preferences and acting in accordance to help fulfill their needs. In order to do this, an ongoing and system-wide feedback mechanism is of vital importance and the Departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s willingness to undertake an extensive customer service training initiative for its staff is a big step in the right direction. Currently, besides post-program evaluations, there is no system wide approach to customer feedback but more through individual programs offered by the Department.

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Parks and Recreation Department

LEVEL OF SERVICE Level of Service (LOS) standards are guidelines that define service areas based on population that support investment decisions related to parks, facilities and amenities. LOS standards can and will change over time as the program lifecycles change and demographics of a community change. PROS evaluated park facility standards using a combination of resources. These resources included: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) guidelines; recreation activity participation rates reported by the Sports & Fitness Industry Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (SFIA) 2014 Study of Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Participation as it applies to activities that occur in the United States and in the Suffolk area; community and stakeholder input; and general observations. This information allowed standards to be customized to the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department. These LOS standards should be viewed as a guide. The standards are to be coupled with conventional wisdom and judgment related to the particular situation and needs of the community. By applying these standards to the population of Suffolk, gaps and surpluses in park and facility/amenity types are revealed.

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Master Plan Update

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Parks and Recreation Department

Suffolk Park and Recreation Level of Service Standards 2014 Inventory - Developed Facilities

PARKS:

Park Type Pocket Parks Neighborhood Parks Community Parks Regional Parks Total Park Acres OUTDOOR AMENITIES: Picnic Shelter - Large Picnic Shelter - Small Event Pavilion Multi-Use Fields Baseball Fields Softball Fields Outdoor Basketball Courts (Full & Half) Tennis Courts Playgrounds Off Leash Dog Parks Skate Park Outdoor Pools Paved Multi-Use Trails (Miles) Walking/Nature Trail/Moutain Trails (Miles) INDOOR AMENITIES: Recreation/Aquatic Centers (Square Feet) 2014 Estimated Population 2019 Estimated Population

Suffolk Inventory School Parks 6.30 20.00 265.70 1,063.00 1,355.00 24.00 4.00 1.00 3.00 3.00 10.00 12.00 15.00 41.00 1.00 2.00 1.00 5.46 7.49 112,133.28

5.00 3.00 2.00 2.00 -

Total Inventory

2014 Facility Standards

Current Service Level based upon population

Recommended Service Levels; Revised for Local Service Area

Meet Standard/ Need Exists

Additional Facilities/ Amenities Needed

2019 Facility Standards Meet Standard/ Need Exists

Additional Facilities/ Amenities Needed

6.30 20.00 265.70 1,063.00 1,355.00

0.07 0.23 3.07 12.30 15.68

acres per acres per acres per acres per acres per

1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000

0.10 1.00 3.50 12.00 16.60

acres per acres per acres per acres per acres per

1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000

Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Meets Standard Need Exists

2 66 37 80

Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s)

Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists

3 70 48 11 131

Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s) Acre(s)

24.00 4.00 1.00 8.00 6.00 12.00 12.00 17.00 41.00 1.00 2.00 1.00 5.46 7.49

1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.40 0.40

site per site per site per field per field per field per court per court per site per site per site per site per miles per miles per

3,601 21,608 86,431 10,804 14,405 7,203 7,203 5,084 2,108 86,431 43,216 86,431 1,000 1,000

1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.20 0.20

site per site per site per field per field per field per court per court per site per site per site per site per miles per miles per

4,000 15,000 40,000 7,500 15,000 10,000 6,000 5,100 2,000 50,000 50,000 40,000 1,000 1,000

Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Meets Standard Meets Standard Need Exists Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists

2 1 4 2 2 1 1 12 10

Sites(s) Sites(s) Sites(s) Field(s) Field(s) Field(s) Court(s) Court(s) Site(s) Site(s) Site(s) Site(s) Mile(s) Mile(s)

Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Meets Standard Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists Meets Standard Need Exists Need Exists Need Exists

2 1 4 3 1 4 1 1 12 10

Sites(s) Sites(s) Sites(s) Field(s) Field(s) Field(s) Court(s) Court(s) Site(s) Site(s) Site(s) Site(s) Mile(s) Mile(s)

112,133.28

1.30

SF per

2.00

SF per

person

person

Need Exists

60,729 Square Feet

Need Exists

66,883

Square Feet

86,431 89,508

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Parks and Recreation Department

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Parks and Recreation Department

SERVICE AREA ANALYSI S/EQUITY MAPPING Service area maps (equity maps) and standards assist staff and key leadership in assessing where services are offered, how equitable the service distribution and delivery is across the City of Suffolk service area and how effective the service is as it compares to the demographic densities. In addition, looking at guidelines with reference to population enables the city to assess gaps in services, where there are gaps or overlaps with respect to a specific facility or amenity. This allows the city and the department to make appropriate capital improvement/development decisions based upon need for a system as a whole and the consequences that may have on a specific area. The service area maps are: 

Pocket Parks

Neighborhood parks

Community parks

Regional Parks

Picnic Shelters (small)

Picnic Shelters (large)

Event Pavilion

Multi-use Fields

Baseball Fields

Softball Fields

Basketball courts

Tennis Courts

Playgrounds

Dog Parks

Skate Parks

Outdoor Pools

Paved Trails

Walking / Nature / Mountain Bike Trails

Recreation Centers

The source for the population used for standard development is the 2014 estimated population and projected 2019 population as reported by Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI). The shaded areas in the equity maps indicate the service level (e.g. the population being served by that park type/amenity) as outlined in the facility/amenity levels of service matrix. Thus, the central point inside the ring indicates the location of the facility or amenity while the ring extends out to how far that amenity serves the population based on the number of amenities at that location, the levels of service standards established and the density of population in that place.

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Master Plan Update

4.3.1 POCKET PARKS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.2 NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.3 COMMUNITY PARKS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.4 REGIONAL PARKS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.5 PICNIC SHELTERS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SMALL

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.6 PICNIC SHELTERS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; LARGE

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Master Plan Update

4.3.7 EVENT PAVILION

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.8 MULTI-USE FIELDS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.9 BASEB ALL FIELDS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.10 SOFTBALL FIELDS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.11 BASKETB ALL COURTS

73


Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.12 TENNIS COURTS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.13 PLAYGROUNDS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.14 DOG PARKS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.15 SKATEPARKS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.16 OUTDOOR POOLS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.17 PAVED TRAILS

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Parks and Recreation Department

4.3.18 WALKING/NATURE/MOUNT AIN TRAILS

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Master Plan Update

4.3.19 RECRE ATION CENTERS

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Parks and Recreation Department

PRIORITIZED FACILITY AND PROGRAM NEEDS ASSESSMENT The purpose of the Facility and Program Priority Rankings is to provide a prioritized list of facility/ amenity needs and recreation program needs for the community served by Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department. This rankings model evaluated both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data includes the statistically valid Community Survey, which asked residents to list unmet needs and rank their importance. Qualitative data includes resident feedback obtained in community input and demographics and trends. A weighted scoring system was used to determine the priorities for parks and recreation facilities/ amenities and recreation programs. For instance as noted below, a weighted value of 3 for the Unmet Desires means that out of a total of 100%, unmet needs make up 30% of the total score. Similarly, importance-ranking also makes up 30%, while Consultant Evaluation makes up 40% of the total score, thus totaling 100%. This scoring system considers the following: 

Community Survey o

Unmet needs for facilities and recreation programs – This is used as a factor from the total number of households mentioning whether they have a need for a facility/ program and the extent to which their need for facilities and recreation programs has been met. Survey participants were asked to identify this for different facilities/ amenities and recreation programs.

o

Importance ranking for facilities – This is used as a factor from the importance allocated to a facility or program by the community. Each respondent was asked to identify the top four most important facilities and recreation programs.

Consultant Evaluation o

Factor derived from the consultant’s evaluation of program and facility priority based on survey results, demographics, trends and overall community input.

The weighted scores were as follows: 

60% from the statistically valid community survey results.

40% from consultant evaluation using demographic and trends data, community focus groups and public meetings and levels of service.

These weighted scores were then summed to provide an overall score and priority ranking for the system as a whole. The results of the priority ranking were tabulated into three categories: High Priority (top third), Medium Priority (middle third) and Low Priority (bottom third). The combined total of the weighted scores for Community Unmet Needs, Community Importance, and Consultant Evaluation is the total score based on which the Facility/Amenity and Program Priority is determined.

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Master Plan Update

As seen below, Walking & biking trails, Indoor swimming, Indoor walking & running track, Indoor fitness facilities, and Small neighborhood parks are the top five highest facility/amenity priorities in Suffolk.

Suffolk Facility/Amenity Priority Rankings

Walking & biking trails Indoor swimming Indoor walking & running track Indoor fitness facilities Small neighborhood parks Playgrounds Riverfront trails Outdoor water spray parks Picnic areas/shelters Gymnasium for basketball/volleyball Outdoor amphitheater Large community parks Boat ramps/kayak access Environmental education center Campsites/campgrounds Outdoor basketball courts Off-leash dog park Mountain biking trails Soccer fields Football fields Skateboard parks Youth baseball fields Outdoor tennis court Adult softball fields Disc golf course Youth softball fields Pickleball courts

83

Overall Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27


Parks and Recreation Department

As seen below, Adult fitness and wellness programs, Festivals/ special events, Concerts, Youth Learn to Swim and Races programs are the top five highest program priorities in Suffolk.

Suffolk Program Priority Rankings Overall Ranking

Adult fitness & wellness programs Festivals/special events Concerts Youth Learn to Swim programs Races Senior adult programs Outdoor skills/adventure programs Continuing education Youth fitness & wellness programs Youth summer camp programs Adult sports programs Youth sports programs Programs for individuals with disabilities After-school programs Trips Pre-School programs Golf programs/instruction Adult visual and performing arts Environmental education programs Martial arts programs Tennis lessons & leagues Youth life skill & enrichment programs Youth visual and performing arts

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23


Master Plan Update

PARK AND FACILITY ASSESSMENT Park properties and facilities are the physical backbone of the parks and recreation system which support and facilitate all programming, user experiences, and access to recreational opportunities. It is paramount that these properties and facilities be well maintained, meet current standards, and accommodate the highest and best use. Upkeep, repair, and improvements to existing facilities should be a top priority for any Parks and Recreation Department. Periodic assessment of physical conditions is key to the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to budget and implement priority repairs and improvements in an organized and timely manner.

5.1.1 METHODOLOGY PROS Consulting and LPDA facilitated the assessment of physical conditions of parks and facilities operated by the department. The objective of the assessments was to identify and quantify conditions which ultimately have a direct effect on the quality of programming, user experiences, and the public health, welfare, and safety. Assessment forms were customized to gather specific information. Knowledgeable City parks maintenance staff conducted the inventory and assessments at each park and facility. The forms asked staff to inventory park and facilities featuresâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such as infrastructure, parking, and amenitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and then to evaluate their condition using a numeric scoring system. The scores for all categories were added together to yield the total score for the park condition. Facilities which had the most physical condition

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issues yielded the highest scores. A park or facility, however, with many amenities often garnered a higher score and therefore scores should be considered in context with narrative descriptions and recommended improvements. Park conditions were assessed on a scale of (0) to (4) in a range of categories. A score of (0) indicated no concerns, and a score of (4) indicated immediate major problems. The categories were vehicular access; ADA accessibility; parking availability; parking facilities; personal safety; condition of sidewalks/paths/trails; neighborhood linkages/connections; condition of ballfields, turf, stormwater drainage systems, irrigation systems, and landscaping (ornamental and natural); general cleanliness/appearance; and condition of equipment (playground, backstops, hoops, etc.) and hard courts (tennis, basketball, etc.) The maximum total score possible for a park to receive is 60. A score of 60 means that every category was dangerously underserved. Facility conditions were assessed on a scale of 0) to (4) in a range of categories. A score of (0) indicated no problems and a score of (4) indicated that immediate major action was needed. The categories were overall facility conditions; presence of vandalism; number and quality of offices; ADA accessibility; condition of mechanical equipment; presence of security measures; adequacy of space; parking availability; and condition of gymnasiums, auditoriums, storage areas, kitchens, classrooms, and interior lighting. The maximum total score possible for a facility to receive is 56, which would indicate that there are immediate major problems in every category. Space was also provided on the forms for reviewers to note specific observations that were not encompassed by any category or to expand in further detail about the conditions of a category. These observations are incorporated in the assessment narratives and recommendations for each park and facility. 5.1.2 SUMM ARY OF FINDINGS The scores for the condition of the facilities ranged from 19 for the Whaleyville Annex, in the worst condition, to 3 for the Oakland Joint Use Recreation Center, which is in the best condition. The highest/worst possible score for a facility is 56. The scores for the condition of the parks ranged from 25 for Sleepy Hole Park, in the worst condition, to 0 for Character Corner and Hall Avenue Park which were found to be in the best condition. The highest/worst possible score a park can receive is 60. The facility found to be in worst condition is the Whaleyville Annex, previously known as the Whaleyville Community Center. Repairs and rehabilitation required for the facility range from drainage issues and sinkholes on the property to a leaking roof and restriping the parking. The new Whaleyville Community Center opened in January 2015 after this assessment was performed. The opening of this new center in the former Robertson Elementary School may reduce the priority of repairs to the old Whaleyville Community Center as local citizensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs are being met by the new center. Attention could then be directed to the facility in the second worst condition: the Suffolk Art Gallery. The Suffolk Art Gallery faces general layout problems such as a restricted kitchenette area and limited storage space, as well as mechanical problems with the HVAC system. The park found to be in the worst condition is Sleepy Hole Park. This park has no major problems but does require general maintenance and overall appearance improvements, as well the expansion and resurfacing of the parking areas.

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Over the course of assessing the condition of the parks and facilities, several recurring issues were noted: FACILITIES  Mechanical equipment problems and age  Inadequate storage space  Inadequate meeting rooms  ADA access issues  Cosmetic issues PARKS    

Inadequate parking Poor condition of pavements Poor drainage Lack of neighborhood pedestrian connectivity

The tables below illustrate the assessment scoring of parks and facilities. Those highlighted in red require the most attention. Refer to the individual park summaries for identification of specific improvements and priority. It is important to note that even though a park may have scored well on overall conditions, there may be an issue such as inadequate ADA access or faulty equipment which requires immediate attention. From this information recommendations for capital improvements were developed which focus on life cycle, safety, and code related deficiencies.

FACILITIES SCORE Whaleyville Annex 19 Suffolk Art Gallery 18 East Suffolk Rec Center 12 Planter's Club 11 Booker T. Washington ES 8 Joint Use Rec. Center Kings Fork MS Joint Use Rec. Center 8 Creekside ES Joint Use Rec. Center 7 Mack Benn Jr. ES Joint Use Rec. Center 7 Northern Shores ES 5 Joint Use Rec. Center Suffolk Parks and Rec. Admin. 4 Oakland ES Joint Use Rec. Center 3 Whaleyville Community Center 0

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PARKS

SCORE Sleepy Hole Park 25 Monogram Field 23 Planter's Park 22 Pughesville Park 21 JFK MS Athletic Fields (Joint Use) 21 Bennett's Creek Park 21 Lake Meade Park 17 Peanut Park Field 17 Forest Glen MS Athletic Fields (Joint Use) 16 Holland Park 16 Cedar Hill Cemetery 15 Magnolia Park 15 Constant's Warf Park and Marina 13 Ida Easter Park 13 Lake Kennedy Park 12 Cypress Park 11 Mary Estes Park 11 Kings Fork Athletic Fields 10 Train Station Park and Seaboard Coastline 8 Trail Coulbourn Park 6 Holly Lawn Cemetery 6 John Yeates MS Athletic Fields (Joint Use) 6 Lakeside Tot Lot 6 Tynes Street Park 4 Lone Star Lakes Park 3 Whaleyville Square 3 Turlington Park 1 Character Corner 0 Hall Avenue Park 0

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5.1.3 SUFFOLK PARKS ASSESSMENT NARRATIVE BENNETT’S CREEK PARK Bennett’s Creek Park is a large park popular with day users and special event visitors. There is not enough parking area to accommodate these users during peak-use times and the vehicular entrance has reduced sight lines around a curve which is dangerous. The parking area needs routine maintenance. Portions of the park are not ADA accessible. The open space field areas need some minor repairs and the turf has some bare patches. The tennis courts are in poor condition and need resurfacing. The equipment and sidewalks in the park need minor maintenance. In some areas, standing water and drainage need to be addressed. The park’s overall appearance is pretty good, though could use some attention. There are concerns with pedestrian safety because there are no sidewalks / trails adjacent to the park road.

Bennett’s Creek Park Playground

Recommended repairs and improvements:         

Add visitor parking to serve play area, tennis and event pavilion Resurface tennis courts Provide a pedestrian path into the park Build a multi-use trail within the park Improve water access from the park for canoes and kayaks Provide additional utility hook-ups for vendors in special event area Increase security lighting in the park Re-mulch existing nature trail and enhance areas of the resource protection buffer with native vegetation Expand Skate Spot

CEDAR HILL CEMETERY The primary issues facing the cemetery are peak use parking availability and landscape appearance. There is no parking on site for funerals or special events, and a related concern is wayfinding ability to identify the cemetery’s entrance from the road. The landscaping needs major pruning and some replacement, and the turf is patchy and needs renovation. Minor improvements to the drainage system are needed, as the drains become stopped up at least twice a week. General repairs are needed to the facility, including making the steps usable, repairing chipping concrete on the mausoleum, and repainting the fence.

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Recommended repairs and improvements:      

Replace concrete steps Replace problematic drainage inlets with more appropriately designed structures. Repair mausoleum concrete Repaint existing fence Repair potholes and repave roads Renovate turf areas

CHARACTER PARK No issues were noted for Character Park. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time

CONSTANT’S WHARF PARK AND MARINA Several small issues face this park, especially parking. The park shares parking with a hotel which limits parking availability during peak use times. Other minor issues are a lack of ADA accessibility to some portions, routine maintenance required on the parking lot, and sidewalks require minor repairs. The landscaping is in good condition with only minor problems, the turf has a few bare areas, and the irrigation system needs minor adjustments. Access to the water is limited and could be expanded.

Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina

Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Address ADA access to all public docks and facilities. Add a canoe/kayak launch

COULBOURN PARK Coulbourn Park has only a few minor issues, the primary being that the sidewalks are in poor condition. Others are that portions of the park are not ADA accessible, there are a few bare turf areas, and there is some standing water. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Improve trail access into the park from Lakeside Drive Address drainage issue caused by runoff from Lakeside Drive

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CYPRESS PARK & POOL Overall, Cypress Park and pool is fairly clean, with some minor issues. There are some security and safety concerns with people loitering. Some areas of landscaping need maintenance such as pruning, pesticide application, and replacement, and there are some standing water issues. The sidewalks require minor repairs, the parking lot needs routine maintenance, and the basketball court needs restriping and the rims painted. Recommended repairs and improvements:       

Add security cameras on pool building and associated signage Renovate basketball courts, resurface/paint and replace rims Relocate playground equipment to a more suitable location Add a multi-use trail to the park that would provide connectivity to neighborhoods to the west Renovate pool and pump systems Install zero entry access to the pool for better accessibility Enhance the pool with additional amenities

FOREST GLEN MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETIC FIELDS (JOINT USE) The primary issue facing the athletic fields at Forest Glen Middle School is a lack of routine maintenance which has led the ballfields to be unplayable. The fields have not been mowed in some time, and now the turf needs to be fully renovated. Otherwise, the park is in good shape, needing minor maintenance to the parking lot and the equipment, and minor improvements to the stormwater drainage system. The fields have only limited connections to the neighborhood. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

Renovate field turf and ballfield infield material. Re-grade/re-crown fields, amend soils, and install new turf and infield mix

HALL AVENUE PARK Hall Avenue Park is a neighborhood pocket park with open green space, sidewalks, and benches. The park is in good condition and no problems were noted in the park assessment. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time Hall Avenue Park

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HOLLAND PARK The key problem the assessment found with Holland Park are a lack of adequate parking. Other problems noted were occasional difficulty for cars to enter or exit the park and necessary paving repairs to the parking lot. The assessment noted in particular a concern over the adjacency of the playground and ballfield. The playground is directly in line with the trajectory of foul balls. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Move play area out of left field or install appropriate buffer hedge Maintain landscaping to improve sight distance at entrance Pave driveway entrance and parking areas

HOLLY LAWN CEMETERY The cemetery has several minor problems. Landscaping around the woods-edge and at the back of the property needs attention and there a few bare patches in the turf. Standing water is an issue on roadways throughout the cemetery. There are no neighborhood linkages to this site as it is surrounded by commercial properties. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Renovate poor turf areas Prune/replace landscaping behind bank Repave/re-crown poorly draining roadways

IDA EASTER PARK The assessment found several major issues in Ida Easter Park. The park has issues with litter and graffiti. The basketball court needs to be resurfaced and the sidewalk through the park is in poor shape and requires extensive repair or renovation. The park is also completely ADA inaccessible. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Add trash receptacles in key areas Resurface basketball courts Improve main sidewalk

JOHN F. KENNEDY MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETIC FIELDS (JOINT USE) The primary complaint with the JFK Athletic Fields at JFK Middle School is poor water management. The stormwater drainage on site is poor, affecting the usability of the baseball and softball fields. The assessment noted a major bee and mosquito problem on all fields, which may be related to improper drainage. The bathrooms also have drainage problems and flood constantly. Driving and parking issues include poor sight distance on the John F. Kennedy Baseball field vehicular access route, peak-use parking shortages, and minor maintenance needed on the parking lot. The ballfields need minor repairs, the

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sidewalks are in poor condition and require extensive repair, and the park equipment requires some general maintenance. The turf is in good condition, but has some bare areas. There are just a few linkages from the site to the neighborhood. The general appearance of the facility is fairly clean but could use improvement. Recommended repairs and improvements:    

Re-grade/re-crown athletic fields Renovate athletic field turf Install direction signs to additional existing parking areas Construct new building with restrooms, storage and concession area

JOHN YEATES MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETIC FIELDS (JOINT USE) These athletic fields are part of the campus of John Yeates Middle School. The site has a few minor issues. The sidewalks and ballfields are in fair condition, and require minor repairs and maintenance. The parking area is in good condition, needing only regular routine maintenance. There are some minor improvements needed to solve saturation or standing water problems. The turf has a few bare patches. The equipment on site is old, but still usable. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

Continue to re-grade to alleviate minor drainage issues

KINGS FORK ATHLETIC FIELDS The assessment found an assortment of minor problems. The site is difficult for cars to enter and exit, and there is not enough parking during peak-use times. There are minor issues with standing water, the ballfields need minor repairs, and the parking lot needs routine maintenance. The equipment is old, but can still be used, and there are only limited connections between the site and the community. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time

King’s Fork Athletic Fields

LAKE KENNEDY PARK The assessment found several small problems in the park including a shortage of available parking during peak-use periods, concerns over personal safety, and no sidewalks linking the park to the community. The current stormwater drainage system is very poor and needs renovation. Both the ballfields and hard courts are in good condition and need only minor maintenance. The equipment in the park—such as the playground, backstops, and hoops—requires maintenance. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Re-grade and add drain pipe and inlets in poor drainage areas Add path/sidewalk connections to park

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Add a multi-use walking trail

LAKE MEADE PARK Lake Meade Park’s general appearance is fairly clean, with some minor issues. The tennis courts are in poor condition and need resurfacing. The equipment in the park requires maintenance, the sidewalks need minor repairs, and there are some standing water and drainage problems. The landscaping and turf are in good condition with only minor problems, and a few bare patches in the turf. There are some concerns over personal safety in the park from the lack of lighting, and there are no linkages or connections between the park and the neighborhood. The park would also benefit from a maintenance building in which to store a tractor and other equipment.

Lake Meade Skate Park

Recommended repairs and improvements:      

Install security lighting Resurface tennis courts Re-grade and add drain pipe and inlets in poor drainage areas Construct a new park office Enhance trails with amenities such as benches, tables, and nature trails to the lake Expand skate park

LAKESIDE TOT LOT The Tot Lot generally has a fairly good appearance, with only a few minor problems. The equipment requires some maintenance. A concrete ramp and sidewalk lead to the primary playground, but portions of the park are not ADA accessible. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time

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LONE STAR LAKES PARK The assessment found very few problems at Lone Star Lakes Park. The primary concern is that ADA accessibility in the park is limited. There are also minor issues with saturation and standing water on site. The park is over 1,000 acres of green space and natural area, but has very few facilities. The park seems underutilized and could be developed as a great asset to the City. The City may want to consider developing a Master Plan for the park. Recommended repairs and improvements:     

Repair potholes on park road Add ADA accessible parking areas and restrooms Build ADA accessible trails and fishing areas, and upgrade existing trails Utility improvements for water and sewer service Construct an office and meeting facility

Lone Star Lakes Park

MAGNOLIA PARK The general appearance of Magnolia Park could use improvement. Several areas of landscaping need maintenance; in particular, the area behind the fence line should be cleared. The turf also needs some aeration and over-seeding. The park has very poor drainage, and the stormwater management system needs renovation. The parking lot needs regular routine maintenance. The sidewalks are in fair condition and require minor repairs, and the park equipment requires some maintenance. The park does not currently include a basketball court, but the assessment noted that it would be an appropriate addition. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Re-grade and add drain pipe and inlets in poor drainage areas Clear fence lines of brush and undergrowth Provide an accessible connection for second playground

MARY ESTES PARK This park has several major issues including poor drainage, vandalism, and poor-quality play courts. The stormwater drainage system needs improvement because there is standing water on the playground after every rain event. The park has a poor general appearance, as the playground is affected by graffiti weekly, equipment gets damaged, and there is a constant litter problem. The basketball court is in poor condition and needs to be resurfaced. Pieces of equipment need minor repair and maintenance and the parking lot requires routine repairs. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Re-grade and add drain pipe and inlets behind playground Resurface basketball court Add additional playground amenities

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MONOGRAM FIELD Monogram Field faces several problems the chief of which is the parking situation. Currently, no parking is designated resulting in damaged turf as drivers create their own parking spots on the grass. The site has no irrigation system but could benefit from one. Field surfaces—the multi-use field in particular— need minor repairs. Equipment requires various levels of maintenance. Turf areas would benefit from aeration and over-seeding. The landscaping is generally in good condition but has a few minor problems and standing water issues. The site has limited linkages to the community and portions of the park are not ADA accessible. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Address sight distance problem at entrance Designate paved parking areas

PEANUT PARK FIELD The parking situation is the primary concern at Peanut Field Park. The existing parking lot cannot accommodate the volume of use leading to dangerous on-street parking. More parking area and major repairs to the surface of the existing lot are needed. Although the site’s bathrooms are heavily used they meet current demand. There are some concerns for personal safety on site. The sidewalks and ballfields require minor repairs and minor improvements are needed to the stormwater drainage system. The equipment on site is old but still usable. There are only limited connections from the park to the adjacent neighborhood. Overall, the park’s appearance could use some improvements. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Identify and pave designated parking areas Improve existing storage and concessions buildings

PUGHESVILLE PARK Vehicular parking shortages and stormwater drainage are the biggest problems in Pughesville Park. The park shares parking with the Recycling Center, which can cause occasional parking shortages. The stormwater drainage system on site is very poor resulting in frequent flooding and standing water. Equipment, basketball courts, and sidewalks require light maintenance and repairs. Landscape maintenance is a continual challenge on the site due to wet conditions and the vigor of the vegetation. The turf is bare in certain areas. The park is located adjacent to a residential neighborhood but there are no sidewalks for pedestrian connection and access.

Pughesville Park

Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Re-grade and add drain pipe and inlets in poor drainage areas Continue to manage successional growth of vegetation to maintain sight lines and function of drainage facilities Add security lighting

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PLANTER’S PARK Most of the problems identified in Planter’s Park relate to vehicular facilities. The park has no dedicated parking lot and there often is not enough street parking to accommodate demand. Another major issue is that none of the park is ADA accessible. The park also lacks visitor amenities such as benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles, and outdoor exercise equipment. Minor problems in the park include limited repairs and maintenance required for the sidewalk, equipment, and landscaping. There are also few neighborhood linkages to the park. Recommended repairs and improvements:    

Create ADA accessible parking area Install ADA accessible play equipment and accessible path from the parking area to the play areas Install visitor amenities like benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles, and outdoor exercise equipment Install a drinking fountain

SLEEPY HOLE PARK The assessment found Sleepy Hole Park to be the park with the greatest number of condition issues. The major concern is that the lower parking area has peak-use shortages and the parking surface is in very poor condition and needs complete renovation. The park also has many other more minor issues. Portions of the park are not ADA accessible, there are some concerns over personal safety, and there are no connections between the park and the community. The sidewalks are in poor condition and require extensive repair or Sleepy Hole Park renovation. The equipment (playground, etc.) also requires some maintenance. The drainage ditches have sediment build-up, and need to be cleaned out. The turf has a few problems that need some work such as over-seeding and aeration. The park’s plumbing and electrical systems would benefit from updates. Overall, the general appearance of the park could be improved. Within the park boundary, sections of the shoreline along the Nansemond River are eroding. Recommended repairs and improvements:        

Clean and re-grade drainage ditches Expand upper and lower field parking areas Resurface roads and parking areas Update sanitary sewer connections for office and maintenance areas Screen or relocate the golf course maintenance buildings Build accessible multi-use trails Improve access to lake and shoreline Stabilize river shoreline as needed

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TRAIN STATION PARK AND SEABOARD COASTLINE TRAIL The park’s size is too small for most of the special events held on site. Issues noted in the park are that portions are not ADA accessible, there are limited neighborhood linkages, and there are some minor problems with the landscaping. Access around the trail gates needs to be improved and that signage for the trail is needed. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Install trail identification signage Improve trail access at gates

Train Station Museum

TURLINGTON PARK Turlington Park is in very good condition and requires only minor routine maintenance such as patching and striping the basketball court. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Upgrade basketball court Provide ADA access to all amenities

TYNES STREET PARK Only minor issues are associated with this park and consist of the need for equipment maintenance and re-surfacing the basketball court. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

Resurface the basketball court

WHALEYVILLE SQUARE The assessment found Whaleyville Square to be in good condition with only minor concerns about connections to adjacent neighborhoods. The landscaping has minor problems. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time Whaleyville Square

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5.1.4 SUFFOLK FACILITIES ASSESSMENT NARRATIVE BOOKER T. WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER Booker T. Washington Elementary School is also used as a recreation center. This facility has many small problems which have some effect on programs. The gym has some cosmetic problems, such as the ceiling peeling and falling onto the floor and some leaks. The gym facilities also need minor maintenance such as repairing the clock and replacing padding on the walls and goal posts. The multi-purpose rooms have several problems that affect programs, including a leak from the ceiling. Light bulbs need to be replaced throughout the building. The sewer occasionally backs up which causes offensive odors. Recommended repairs and improvements:   

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in jointuse areas Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens Install additional playground equipment closer to the entrance of the center

CREEKSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER The Creekside Elementary School building has a few minor problems that have no effect on the recreation center programs. The gym has a variety of problems including lack of seating, faulty divider, and backboard padding that is no longer adequate. Some of the mechanical equipment is in poor condition and should be replaced or repaired but is not currently affecting programs. Security is weak in certain areas. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in jointuse areas. Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens

SUFFOLK PARKS AND RECREATION ADMINISTRATION BUILDING There are a few minor problems with the building but they do not affect the programs within. Storage space is inadequate for athletics and special event purposes. The facility overall has a slight shortage of space although it is not affecting programs. The office area has a few cosmetic problems in need of repair, one restroom is closed due to a leak, and the gutters leak. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

Repair gutters

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EAST SUFFOLK RECREATION CENTER The facility has many minor problems which have some effect on programs. Mechanical equipment, especially the HVAC system, has some major problems which affect programs. The general layout of the building gives little space for general storage, or storage in individual rooms. The office, multi-purpose rooms, and meeting rooms all have cosmetic problems that need minor repairs. The kitchen requires additional storage space. Minor adjustments are needed to the interior lighting programming or automation. Security is weak in certain areas, and East Suffolk Recreation Center once in a while there is minor vandalism. Occasionally during special events there is a shortage of parking, but this does not affect programming. Recommended repairs and improvements:    

Adjust programming and/or automation of light timing Repair HVAC system Install security cameras with higher resolution and reposition for better coverage Construct an addition with a group exercise room, restroom and storage

KINGS FORK MIDDLE SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER The Kings Fork Middle School building has a few minor problems but they have no effect on the functionality of the recreation center’s programs. Problems include a slight inadequacy of space throughout the facility and some cosmetic problems in the multi-purpose room. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in jointuse areas Install direction signs to additional existing parking areas

Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens

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MACK BENN JR. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER The building has a few minor problems that do not affect program functionality. Some of the mechanical equipment is in poor condition and needs to be repaired or replaced, but its condition is not currently affecting programs. The heating/cooling system in the office needs to be repaired. The multi-purpose room, storage area, and bathrooms all need cosmetic maintenance including fixing broken clocks. The gym also has a few minor problems, including the step stripes needing replacing. Storage space is inadequate in some parts of the building.

Mack Benn Jr. Joint Use Recreation Center

Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in jointuse areas Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens

NORTHERN SHORES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER The building has a few minor problems that do not affect the recreation center’s programming. Some of the mechanical equipment is in poor condition and should be replaced or repaired, though it is not currently affecting programs. The gym and multi-purpose room have a few cosmetic problems that do not affect programs. Recommended repairs and improvements:  

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in jointuse areas Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens

OAKLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOINT USE RECREATION CENTER The facility is in good condition with just a few minor problems. The gym, multi-purpose room, and storage area all have some cosmetic problems that need repair. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

Parks and Recreation needs to work with Public Schools to resolve maintenance issues in joint-use areas Improve technology by providing Wi-Fi and projectable screens

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PLANTER’S CLUB The Planter’s Club is a rentable facility with waterfront access. It has a few problems throughout the building but programs are not affected. The primary problem is lack of adequate parking space. Security is weak in certain areas of the facility and occasionally there is damage from vandalism. Additional storage space, and space in general, is needed. The multi-purpose rooms have some minor cosmetic problems. Maintenance is needed on the outside of the facility, including stabilizing the shoreline, landscaping, and repairing the caretaker’s house. Recommended repairs and improvements:      

Identify and pave adequately sized parking areas Install security cameras Stabilize the shoreline Create additional storage space in the facility Fill or removed the abandoned underground storage tank Install Wi-Fi, projectable screens and a speaker system

Planter’s Club SUFFOLK ART GALLERY The Suffolk Art Gallery has the second highest number issues of the City’s facilities. The mechanical equipment has major problems which affect programs although the site is slated to have a full HVAC system installed. This new system will allow for a usable courtyard and will provide proper climate control for pieces of art in storage. Storage is inadequate in many areas of the facility and needs to be reconfigured. The gallery in general also has needs more space in some areas. Security monitoring of the site needs to be assured. The interior lighting system is outdated and needs to be reconfigured. Portions of the facility are not ADA-accessible. The kitchen’s lack of size affects some programs. The multiSuffolk Art Gallery purpose rooms have limited storage space and general lighting issues, which affects programs. Recommended repairs and improvements:        

Repair leaks in storage area Expand kitchen facilities Reconfigure storage space Upgrade outdoor lighting system Upgrade indoor lighting system Repaint exterior window frames and overhang Implement a quarterly maintenance inspection of the building Upgrade the existing HVAC system

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WHALEYVILLE ANNEX The Whaleyville Annex has the greatest number of issues of all of the assessed facilities. These issues affect the programs at the facility. The heating/cooling system is old and needs continual maintenance. Security is weak on site, as there are no cameras. The storage areas for the facility are inadequate and too small. The meeting rooms are also too small for the programs’ needs. Interior lighting is in good condition with only minor adjustments needed. The facility in general has a shortage of space in some areas, which has an effect on programs. Portions of the facility are not ADA accessible. There is always inadequate parking space at the Annex. Overall, there are drainage problems in the surrounding site, the building’s roof leaks in two places, and minor repairs are needed throughout the building. Recommended repairs and improvements: 

 

City to evaluate the need for improvements to the Whaleyville Annex based on current use levels and long-term plans for the facility. City to make immediate repairs to stabilize and preserve the integrity of the facility. Repair leaks to roof Regrade and replace drainpipes to address drainage problems from sinkholes

WHALEYVILLE COMMUNITY CENTER The new Community Center in Whaleyville was opened January 2015 in the converted Robertson Elementary School building. The opening of the Whaleyville Community Center gives the citizens a viable alternative to the impaired Whaleyville Annex. The assessment found the Community Center to be in very good condition and no improvements are needed at this time. As the Community Center starts to be used more intensively staff should monitor user’s needs, and be aware of any changes that need to be made to the facility.

Ribbon Cutting at the new Whaleyville Community Center, January 2015

Recommended repairs and improvements: 

No repairs or improvements are needed at this time

Fitness Center at the Whaleyville Community Center

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5.1.5 CONCLUSIONS There are common themes to the problems in the parks and recreation centers. In order of priority, repairs and improvements in the parks and facilities should be as follows: 1. Safety: Address tripping hazards, broken railings, standing water, broken play equipment, and surfacing issues 2. Code: Comply with ADA, ingress/egress, lighting, and fire 3. Deferred Maintenance: Address painting, equipment repairs, and drainage issues 4. Obsolescence/Replacements: Replace amenities such as furnishings and play equipment that are no longer fully functional or do not meet accepted standards 5. Park/Facility Improvements: Construct or install buildings, structures, and amenities that add value, address needs, and/or improve user experiences OVERALL PARK CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS City-wide, there are problems facing the parks of Suffolk. These problems include insufficient drainage, limited parking and/or parking in disrepair, insufficient signage, and deteriorating structures. It is recommended that the City of Suffolk creates a set of design standards for repair and improvements so that park amenities can be improved and developed consistently and efficiently. It is recommended that the City take a phased approach to repairs and refurbishment by immediately addressing issues of safety and code-deficiency and then proceeding to address less pressing and longer-term concerns. For example, most playground equipment was installed between 2000 and 2002 and plans need to be made to systematically replace playgrounds and play equipment throughout the park system. This same approach applies to existing athletic fields in order to update the oldest and/or most heavily-used facilities. CITY PARK DESIGN STANDARDS MANUAL Developing a city-wide design standard for park repair and renovations will ensure that all work is done consistently and to code throughout Suffolk. This manual will be applied to repairs in existing parks as well as the development of new parks. The design manual should focus specifically on stormwater management solutions and parking regulations. The City of Suffolk must ensure that all repairs and redevelopment are in compliance with the 2014 Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) regulations. In order to meet the VSMP standards, it is often necessary for a project to include Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as permeable pavers and bioretention areas in order to meet water quality and quantity treatment requirements. Per City Code Section 35-5 Stormwater Management, any project that disturbs more than 1 acre of land, or more than 2,500 SF of land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas, must comply with State standards administered by the Department of Environmental Quality for the treatment of stormwater run-off. The Design Standards Manual should clearly delineate Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas and provide a list of acceptable BMPs. The Design Standards Manual should also provide consistent parking solutions throughout the park system. Decisions regarding the amount and type of parking surface (asphalt, gravel, or street) may be determined through the development of a chart comparing size, use level, and use type of the park. For example, Bennettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek Park, which is a community park with a variety of many popular facilities and sees consistent heavy use, should expand its paved parking areas. Alternately, Kings Fork Athletic Fields

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features swings between heavy peak use and low use and parking shortages should be developed with additional gravel parking. The Design Standards Manual should also include signage standards and guidelines which will create a unified look to the entire park system, as well as improved wayfinding. Sign guidelines should include appropriate placement, various types of signs and their purposes, and standard sizes, shapes, and colors. The park assessments identify many of the building facilities, especially the bathrooms, as facing problems. The Design Standards Manual will layout out recommendations for repair versus new construction of existing building facilities, and size, materials, and amenities of the buildings. OVERALL FACILITY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The facilities and recreation centers are in overall good condition, primarily needing long term maintenance and upkeep repairs, rather than complete refurbishment. Regularly identified problems are:     

Mechanical equipment problems and age Inadequate storage space Inadequate meeting rooms ADA access issues Cosmetic issues

The City should first address the issues identified in this report concerning safety and code, and then proceed to facility improvements. The priority list at the beginning of this section details this order of priority.

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PLAN

HISTORICAL, CULTURAL & NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

INTRODUCTION This Cultural and Natural Resources Management Plan performs two roles: 1. It provides management guidance to the Parks & Recreation Department for cultural and natural resources within the City of Suffolk 2. It fulfills a requirement necessary for the Department to be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The primary goals of this plan are to help the Department understand what cultural and natural resources are available; how to utilize these resources to improve the functionality of the parks and recreation system; and how to manage their involvement with these resources to facilitate long-term resource protection. The City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan provides the basis for this plan. Chapter 5 of the Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Natural and Environmental Resources” supplies in-depth information and mapping for natural and cultural resources found throughout Suffolk. In addition, the chapter discusses policies and procedures that currently in place in the City to protect these resources. Given this wealth of information, this Resources plan will make reference to Chapter 5 where information already exists and provide recommendations for filling in any gaps.

Sunset on the Nansemond River

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Master Plan Update

NATURAL RESOURCES PL AN 6.2.1 INVENTORY OF NATURAL RESOURCES  Nansemond River  James River  Chuckatuck Creek  Bennett’s Creek  Knotts Creek  Hoffler Creek  South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve (DCR/Private; No Public Access Yet)  Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge As the 2035 Comprehensive Plan states, “The City of Suffolk is blessed with an abundance of unaltered natural areas including the wetlands of the Great Dismal Swamp and the tidal wetlands along the banks of the Nansemond, Chuckatuck, Bennetts Creek, and James Rivers.” The Parks & Recreation Department has the potential to make use of all of these resources as part of programming for activities and events. In fact, the Department already programs activities along the Nansemond River and Bennett’s Creek and Lone Star Lakes Park is located at the terminus of Chuckatuck Creek. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan includes the following natural resources:   

Rural Lands Water Resources Plant & Animal Habitat

RURAL LANDS The City of Suffolk has a long-standing agricultural heritage and their predominant crop consists of peanuts. Recently, however, development pressure has decreased the amount of agricultural acreage. The City has planning restrictions in place to direct growth away from agricultural lands. The majority of residential development has occurred within the Suburban/Urban growth areas that were developed as part of the Unified Development Ordinance. This tool has helped preserve farmland in the southern and northern portions of the City.

Suffolk Agricultural Fields As the 2035 Comprehensive Plan notes, however, agricultural land can have a negative impact on environmental resources due to the production of pollutant loads such as herbicides, pesticides, and animal manure. Therefore, while agriculture supports open space and heritage tourism, it can also pollute waterways vital to recreation.

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The relationship between rural lands and parks and recreation involves preserving open space that could become park land and promoting environmental stewardship. As Suffolk’s population grows, the increased population will require more park property and this need could be met by converting agricultural lands to parks. The use of waterways for recreation must also be protected from pollution which may involve working with farmers to alter farm management practices. WATER RESOURCES The City of Suffolk relies heavily on water resources for recreation. The northern edge of the City is located on the Chesapeake Bay, the northern half of the City is dissected by various rivers, streams, and creeks, and much of the eastern half of the City abuts the Great Dismal Swamp.

Kayaking in the Great Dismal Swamp

The City also contributes stormwater runoff to the Chesapeake Bay which requires it to be part of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) and adds water quality and pollutant removal standards to stormwater management activities in order to protect the Bay’s water quality. As part of the CBPA, City land is designated as either a Resource Protection Area (RPA) or a Resource Management Area (RMA). RPAs restrict development action within 100 feet of shoreline, stream banks, and wetlands. RMAs are contiguous to RPAs and may include floodplains, steep slopes, non-tidal wetlands, and other lands necessary to protect water quality before it enters the RPA. Almost the entire northern half of the City is protected as either an RMA or RPA. Relevant to parks and recreation, the only development allowed within an RPA are water-dependent facilities such as docks, boat ramps, and shoreline protection projects; trails; and certain stormwater management facilities. Therefore, while RPAs have limited development potential they can be used for select recreation purposes. RMAs are less strict regarding development but still contain restrictions. Wetlands factor heavily into the City’s water resources. Of particular importance to parks and recreation is the ability of wetlands to offer opportunities such as kayaking and scenic views. Suffolk currently contains about 94,000 acres of wetlands. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan discusses waterfront access as an important water resource within the City. The 2035 Plan notes that while waterfront access is a key component of aesthetics, recreation, commerce, and economics for the City it also poses water quality issues if not done correctly.

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PLANT & ANIMAL HABITAT The preservation of plant and animal habitat supports the continuation and development of parks and recreational opportunities. While habitat preservation provides a benefit to the plants and animals living in specific areas of the City, the presence of such habitat provides a tableau for recreational activities; opportunities for interpretation of and community engagement in regional ecology; and activities such as bird-watching, fishing, and wildflower and wildlife viewing. Bear in the Great Dismal Swamp

As part of habitat protection, the 2035 Comprehensive Plan discussed the importance of Natural Heritage Areas that contain rare, threatened, or endangered plant or animal species. The 2035 Plan preparers worked with Virginia’s Division of Natural Heritage (part of the Department of Conservation and Recreation or DCR) to update the list of these species that are potentially present in Suffolk as well as to identify Natural Heritage Areas that would protect these species. Refer to Figure 5-8 in the 2035 Plan for a map that shows conservation sites, general locations for conservation areas, and special conservation units. There may be opportunities for parks and recreation amenities in or near these areas to take advantage of the protected habitat. DCR also owns a portion of the South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve in the far southwestern corner of Suffolk. The preserve is not yet open to the public but may someday include hiking trails and interpretive educational resources. Suffolk should consider contacting DCR about this preserve to determine future plans and identify teaming opportunities. 6.2.2 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROCEDURES Part of the CAPRA standard for an agency’s master plan is to identify environmental protection procedures to help sustain valuable natural resources. These procedures may include erosion control, plant and animal studies, habitat preservation, and protection of water resources. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan notes several policies, agencies, and procedures that currently exist within the City. This section provides an overview of those policies, agencies, and procedures and offer recommendations for where these items could be strengthened. Table 1 identifies the many environmental policies, procedures, and agencies in play within the City of Suffolk at the local, State, and Federal level. While the Parks Department does not govern or control these items, it has the duty to implement, coordinate, and respect the laws and goals that other agencies have put in place. The column titled “Parks Involvement” provides a quick overview of how the Department does or could interact with the policy or agency. Below is a key to each category of involvement:

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Coordination: Discuss the policy with the responsible agency and understand how that policy affects parks and recreation. Also, determine how the Department may be able to alter the policy to better protect parks and recreation resources.

Compliance: Follow the legal components set forth by the policy.

Education: Incorporate aspects of the policy into their programs and activities.

Policy/Agency

Responsible Party

Focus

Parks Involvement

Focused Growth Framework

Suffolk Planning Dept.

Land Use

Coordination

Unified Development

Suffolk Planning Dept.

Land Use

Coordination

USDA/Private Landowners

Agriculture/Pollution

Compliance &

Control

Education

Peanut SWCD/Natural Resource

Agriculture/Pollution

Coordination

Conservation Service/Private Landowners

Control

Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board

Water Protection/

Compliance &

Pollution Control

Education

Water Protection/

Compliance

Ordinance USDA Best Management Practices for Water Quality Conservation Plans

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act 2014 Stormwater

VA Dept. of Environmental Quality

Regulations Stormwater Best Mgmt.

Pollution Control VA Dept. of Environmental Quality

Practices Suffolk Wetlands Board

Water Protection/

Compliance

Pollution Control Suffolk Planning Dept.

Wetlands Protection

Coordination, Compliance, & Education

Federal Wetlands

Army Corps of Engineers

Wetlands Near

Governance State Wetlands Governance

Shoreline Erosion Control

Clean Marina Program

Coastal Resource Mgmt.

Compliance

Navigable Waters VA. Dept. of Environmental Quality/ VA

Freshwater/Tidal

Marine Resources Commission

Wetlands

Suffolk Planning Dept.

Shoreline

Coordination &

Management

Compliance

Water Protection/

Compliance &

Pollution Control

Education

Shoreline

Compliance

VA. Dept. of Environmental Quality

VA Institute of Marine Science

Policy Statement

Management

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Alternative Sewage

VA. Dept. of Health

Sanitary Mgmt.

Treatment Systems

Compliance & Education

Natural Heritage Resource

VA. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation/

Rare, Threatened, &

Compliance &

Protection

U.S. Fish & Wildlife/ VA. Dept. of Game &

Endangered Plant &

Education

Inland Fisheries

Animal Species

VA. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation

Rare, Threatened, &

Coordination &

Endangered Plant &

Education

Conservation Sites

Animal Species

Table 1: Natural Resources Policies and Procedures 6.2.3 PROCEDURES TO ENCOUR AGE STEWARDSHIP The CAPRA standard for natural resource management notes that an agency should have procedures to encourage and ensure environmental stewardship even if that agency does not own or control particular natural resources used by that agency. Stewardship efforts may include volunteer programs, interpretive education, incorporation of sound land use management strategies, and coordination with other natural resources agencies. This section identifies ways in which the Department currently promotes stewardship and opportunities to Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival increase stewardship.

OUTREACH & EDUCATION Building on the Parks Department Involvement category in Table 1, the Parks Department already participates in a number of outreach and education initiatives which are listed below. The Department currently:

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Works with the Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission on permits for water access and shoreline stabilization projects

Is developing a living shoreline stabilization project and buffer protection projects

Works with Clean Community Commission to recycle tires and batteries

Helps coordinate volunteer days for Clean the Bay projects

Provides recycle bins at special events and in some of our parks

Works with the Department of Forestry do grow native trees and to develop habitat enhancement areas at Lone Star Lakes Park

Cooperates with the Department of Game and Inland fisheries to study native fish populations in City-owned lakes

Is developing programs to educate people on birds and native wildlife populations

Works with the master gardeners to provide spaces for community gardens and associated educational programs

Clean the Bay Day

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6.2.4 RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations include both existing recommendations found in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and new recommendations that fill in gaps from the 2035 plan. The Parks Department should make every effort to implement and/or support implementation of these recommendations particularly when opportunities arise on Department- owned or operated lands. 2035 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS  Continue to implement and enforce the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. 

Preserve tidal marshes along City shorelines.

Continue to enforce the provisions of the Floodplain Overlay District and associated Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Continue to support the implementation of shoreline protection measures.

Promote coastal water quality improvement initiatives for the protection of spawning and nursery grounds.

Encourage “Clean Marina” designation for all marinas.

Assure the protection of ground water and well water quality and the water quality of areas draining to lakes and reservoirs.

Continue to limit development within drinking water watersheds to low intensity and low density uses.

Continue to explore and implement new and innovative techniques to apply water quality protection measures beyond those of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and Regulations.

Continue to identify, adopt, and implement appropriate measures to protect water quality of the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge.

Continue to work with the health department to update septic system regulations to better protect water quality.

Cooperate with the Peanut Soil and Water Conservation District to promote the development and implementation of Farm Conservation Plans.

Continue to work closely with the neighboring jurisdictions in efforts to improve the effectiveness of the region’s watershed management program.

Continue to implement and enforce stormwater regulations related to pre and postdevelopment activities.

Continue to promote development activities that implement TMDL action plan requirements.

Recognize eco-tourism as a method for continuing the preservation of the City’s natural resources.

Ensure that any future pathway system relates to and complements the eco-tourism initiative.

Continue to work with City departments and adjacent jurisdictions to promote eco-tourism opportunities.

Support opportunities for expanding the economic benefits of eco-tourism.

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NEW RECOMMENDATIONS  Consider hiring or designating an Environmental Coordinator within the Department to handle coordination, implementation, and education efforts related to such things as water resource protection, stream health, recycling, Department environmental policies, and pollution control. 

Implement a Department-wide policy on sustainability to include recycling procedures, sustainable maintenance practices, and staff education and training.

Implement a Department policy to incorporate stormwater best management practices whenever possible, including bioretention ponds, permeable pavements, and green roofs.

Expand education programs to include sustainability and “green” practices that people can do at home. Education opportunities might be offered to schools, senior centers, service organizations, and non-profits.

Develop a community garden program and/or coordinate with local Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) organizations to host produce share pick-up locations.

Participate in planning commission. City Council, and other departmental meetings related to land use and resource protection to advocate for environmental protection policies that impact park and recreation resources.

Ensure that all Department owned- and operated water access facilities meet or exceed current environmental standards regarding erosion control, shoreline protection, and pollution prevention.

Work towards making Constant’s Wharf a “Clean Marina.”

CULTURAL RESOURCES PLAN Parks and recreation, cultural resources, and tourism work together to create a thriving community and to promote economic development. The City of Suffolk has numerous cultural resources spread throughout the municipality. Resources include historic buildings and landscapes, archaeological sites, and historic districts. For the purposes of this plan, cultural resources refer to historic resources that are older than 50 years and listed on, eligible for, or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. When a resource meets these criteria it has been identified as a significant feature that contributes to the history of the locality, region, or nation and thus merits special treatment. In actuality, Suffolk has countless more cultural resources but they are not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to any number of reasons such as poor physical condition, dramatic changes to the appearance of the resource that do not reflect its original historic character, relocation, and Dismal Town Historical Marker partial or complete demolition. This section of the plan discusses existing cultural resources, their current relationship to Suffolk’s Parks & Recreation Department, and recommendations for management or interaction with the resources. The

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basis for this plan is Chapter 7 of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the National Register of Historic Places listings. 6.3.1 INVENTORY OF HISTORIC PROPERTI ES Refer to Table 2 on the next page for a list of cultural resources found within the City limits. Of this properties found on this list, the City of Suffolk is directly involved with very few cultural resources. Parks & Recreation maintains the grounds of Cedar Hill Cemetery and uses the East Suffolk School Complex as a recreation center. The Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Tourism offers Guided Lantern Tours at Cedar Hill Cemetery. The City School Board owns but does not utilize the Nansemond County Training School and operates the former Florence Graded School as Florence Bowser Elementary School. Riddickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Folly House Museum The Riddick House museum is apparently owned by the City and operated by an unknown entity although funding comes through the Capital Improvements Program. The remaining resources on Table 2 have no apparent affiliation with Parks & Recreation or the City of Suffolk although this is not to say that a relationship could not be developed where appropriate to meet the needs of City parks, recreation, and tourism.

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Property Name

Ownership

Date

Eligibility

Smithfield Packing Co. Plant No. 5

Private

1941

Listed

American Bank & trust Co.

Private

1916

Listed

Obici House

Private

1870

Listed

Glebe Church

Private

1737

Listed

Phillips Farm

Private

1820

Listed

Cedar Hill Cemetery

Suffolk Parks

1802

Listed

Phoenix Bank of Nansemond

Private

1921

Listed

Chuckatuck Church

Private

1755

Listed

Chuckatuck Church Historic Dist.

Multiple

1780

Listed

Nansemond Co. Training School

Suffolk Schools

1924

Listed

Dismal Swamp Canal

Federal

1787

Listed

Driver Historic District

Multiple

1820

Listed

Dumpling Island Archaeo. Site

Tribal

900

Listed

East Suffolk School Complex

Suffolk Parks

1926

Listed

Godwin-Knight House

Private

1780

Listed

Hobson Village MPD

Multiple

1866

Listed

Holland House

Multiple

1860

Listed

Holland House Historic Dist.

Multiple

1885

Listed

Knotts Creek Archeo Site.

Commonwealth

1635

Listed

Mt. Sinai Church & Cemetery

Private

1921

Listed

Riddick House

Suffolk City

1837

Listed

Somerton House Historic Dist.

Multiple

1780

Listed

Suffolk Historic District

Multiple

1742

Listed

West End Historic District

Multiple

1865

Listed

Whaleyville Historic District

Multiple

1874

Listed

Glebe Farm

Private

1675

Eligible

Britt House

Private

1795

Eligible

Level Green

Private

1830

Eligible

Atlantic, Mississippi, & Ohio Railroad

Unknown

1858

Eligible

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Hobbs Farm

Private

1865

Eligible

R.S. Eley House

Private

1873

Eligible

E.A. MacCleary House

Private

1888

Eligible

Town Point Farm

Private

1895

Eligible

Hall Place Historic District

Multiple

1900

Eligible

Florence Graded School

Suffolk Schools

1919

Eligible

March Farmhouse

Private

1920

Eligible

Crump’s Mill

Private

1675

Eligible

Pembroke

Private

1701

Potentially Eligible

Knotts Neck Point

Private

1814

Potentially Eligible

Hill’s Point Battlefield

Multiple

1863

Potentially Eligible

Norfleet House Battery

Unknown

1863

Potentially Eligible

Commercial Building (Longstreet Ln.)

Private

1870

Potentially Eligible

House (Longstreet Ln.)

Private

1870

Potentially Eligible

March House

Private

1900

Potentially Eligible

Shackley Island

Private

1930

Potentially Eligible

Table 2: Cultural Resources EXISTING CULTURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION MEASURES The City’s Unified Development Ordinance includes a Historic & Cultural Conservation Overlay District which encompasses most of the downtown historic district and adjacent areas. Historic District Design Guidelines for this overlay district were adopted in 1990. As stated in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, “the overlay district provides a procedure for review by the Historic Landmarks Commission of all external changes to buildings that are visible from any street or public way.” All of these policies are administered by the City’s Department of Planning & Community Development and the Division of Planning. The City is a Certified Local Government which makes it eligible for funding assistance from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Suffolk is also a Preserve America Community. Preserve America is a federal initiative “that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy…priceless cultural and natural heritage.” Preserve America Communities are eligible to receive grants, preservation awards, and other forms of recognition. The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society was organized in 1966 “to preserve and publicize the City’s historic resources.” They are a 501(c)3 organization with headquarters in the Phillips-Dawson House on Bank Street and who maintain the gift shop at the Riddick House.

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The Parks & Recreation Department does not engage in any cultural resource protection procedures with the exception of general maintenance of their parks and facilities.

Suffolk Historic & Cultural Conservation Overlay District Map 6.3.2 STRATEGIES FOR MANAG EMENT OF CULTURAL RE SOURCES As with natural resources, the 2035 Comprehensive Plan offered recommendations for protection of cultural resources. New recommendations are offered that address issues not covered in the Comprehensive Plan. 2035 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS  Continue to survey areas of the City for their contribution to the cultural heritage of the City and consider designating new historic districts as they are located. 

Maintain an up-to-date Historic District Design Guidelines for historic buildings.

Promote the understanding and appreciation of the value of preserving historic architecture.

Consider establishing development encroachment protection zones around the City’s historical villages and individual properties to better protect and buffer these cultural resources from encroaching non-compatible development.

Actively pursue funding and opportunities for historic preservation.

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NEW RECOMMENDATIONS The Parks & Recreation Department has very little direct involvement with managing Suffolk’s cultural resources but has the opportunity to coordinate park acquisition, maintenance, and management efforts with other public and private entities to ensure that valuable resources are documented and protected. 

Should the Department incorporate archaeological sites into programming such as tours and classes, work with agencies who manage these sites to ensure that sensitive areas containing important historic and/or pre-historic resources are protected from damage by public use and improper maintenance.

Ensure that maintenance efforts such as vegetative thinning and clearing, mowing, and drainage projects do not alter the historic character of cultural resource sites.

Ensure that new projects consider historic landscape features before undertaking construction. Historic landscape features include landforms, roadways, and vegetation patterns.

If new park land is acquired, research the site to determine if any cultural resources exist and if they might be affected by the new park land use. Consider viewsheds for adjacent properties, as well.

Do not alter the exterior of historic buildings without contacting the Historic Landmarks Commission or an expert in historic architecture.

Partner with the Planning Department to utilize the recommended cultural resource buffer zones as park space such as greenway corridors or pocket parks.

Promote the understanding and appreciation of preserving historic landscapes and open space.

Consider nominating historic park landscapes to the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations might include any park property that is older than 50 years of age from the current date and makes a significant contribution to local, regional, or national history.

Coordinate with other City Departments, or Suffolk Public Schools, to determine if Parks & Rec can adaptively re-use any historic buildings that will be de-commissioned and/or sold.

Install interpretive signs throughout the park system to educate visitors about cultural resources.

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CONCLUSION The City of Suffolk is wealthy in natural beauty and cultural history. The rural areas, water resources, and wildlife and plant habitat create a sense of place for the citizens of and visitors to Suffolk, and offer recreation and tourism opportunities. Suffolk has been settled for 300 years, and was occupied by Native Americans long before that, creating a rich palimpsest of buildings, landscapes, and artifacts. Suffolk should seek to preserve and enhance the natural and cultural resources that they are endowed with by following the recommendations in this report. As Suffolk grows, pressure is being placed on these resources in the forms of increased stormwater runoff and environmental degradation, and development pressures on historic buildings, districts, and landscapes. Creating long-term management goals and practices, and implementing sustainable environmental design will preserve the natural and cultural resources that make Suffolk unique.

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ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT FUNDING AND REVENUE STRATEGIES This sub-section identifies funding options to help support operational and capital cost. This is provided from PROS Consulting based on national work with other park systems. 7.1.1 REVENUE AND FUNDING OPTIONS TO CONSIDER FOR GREENWAYS AND TR AILS The greenway funding opportunities cited below are applicable to organizations and agencies throughout the U.S. that are seeking funding. The most common method for funding greenways is to combine local, public sector and private sector funds with funds from state, federal and additional private-sector sources. Many communities involved with greenway implementation are choosing to leverage local money as a match for outside funding sources, in essence multiplying their resources. Local advocates and Department staff should pursue a variety of funding sources for land acquisition and greenway construction as well as funding opportunities for operations and maintenance costs. A greenway program that relies on limited funding sources may one day come to a grinding halt should these sources dry up. The following list of sources is divided into: LOCAL AND STATE FUNDING SOURCES Land Leases: Many communities across the United States have allowed land leases for commercial retail operations along trails as a source of funding. The communities that have used land lease look for retail operations that support the needs of recreation users of the trails. This includes coffee shops, grill and food concessions and small restaurants, ice cream shops, bicycle shops, farmers markets and small local business. The land leases provide revenue to maintain the trails and/or to be used for in-kind matching. Tax Increment Financing (TIF Funds): The concept behind the tax increment financing is that taxes in a designated area are frozen and the redevelopment that occurs in the blighted, conservation or economic development area will increase the assessed valuation of the property and generate new property tax revenues. The increase can be used on an annual basis to retire revenue bonds issued to finance redevelopment costs. A great deal of development is required to generate sufficient revenues to make it work. Sale of Development Rights below the Ground: Some public agencies have sold their development rights next to greenways below ground for fiber optic lines and utility lines for gas and electric on a lineal foot basis. This has occurred in King County, Washington. Special Recognition License Tag: In Indianapolis, IN, the Greenways Foundation has a special Greenways designation car tag that provides income to the Greenways Foundation to provide matching grant monies for the City of Indianapolis greenways program. The tag provides $45 per tag sold back to the foundation. Greenway Foundations: Greenway Foundations have been developing across the United States over the last 15 years to support greenway matching monies for cities and counties. Greenway Foundations raise money for capital monies and operational money. Floodway Funding Sources: Many cities and counties have used floodway funding sources to support development and operations of greenways. This funding source is used extensively in Houston, TX and in Cleveland, OH.

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Greenway Trust Fund: Another strategy used by several communities is the creation of a trust fund for land acquisition and facility development that is administered by a private greenway advocacy group, or by a local greenway commission. A trust fund can aid in the acquisition of large parcels of high-priority properties that may be lost if not acquired by private sector initiative. Money may be contributed to the trust fund from a variety of sources, including the municipal and county general funds, private grants and gifts. Greenway Fundraising Programs: Agencies across the United States have used greenways for not-forprofit fundraisers in the form of walks, runs, bicycle races and special events. The local managing agency usually gets $2-$5 per participant who participates in the events to go back to support the operations and maintenance costs.

Greenways Conservation Groups: Conservation groups adopt green corridors to support the operations and capital costs for specific greenways corridors. These groups raise needed money for designated greenways for capital and operations costs. Local Private-Sector Funding: Local industries and private businesses may agree to provide support for greenway development through one or more of the following methods: ď&#x201A;ˇ

Donations of cash to a specific greenway segment

ď&#x201A;ˇ

Donations of services by large corporations to reduce the cost of greenway implementation, including equipment and labor to construct and install elements of a specific greenway

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ď&#x201A;ˇ

Reductions in the cost of materials purchased from local businesses that support greenway implementation and can supply essential products for facility development

Adopt-A-Foot Program: These are typically small grant programs that fund new construction, repair/renovation, maps, trail brochures, facilities (bike racks, picnic areas, birding equipment) as well as provide maintenance support. The Adopt-A-Foot program is similar to adopt a mile of highway program. Citizens are encouraged to purchase an engraved foot plaque that is displayed along the trail system. The Adopt-A-Foot program is in the form of cash contributions that range from $2,640 to $26,400 over a five year period. State Departments of Transportation: Many states are the local administrators of federal funding from the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; see more info below, under Federal Funding Sources. Community Development Block Grants: Through its State CDBG Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides States with annual direct grants, which they in turn award to smaller communities and rural areas for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities and/or improving community facilities and services. Safe-Routes to Schools Program: The federal government provides safe-routes to school funding for greenways to promote youth walking to school. Grants are 100% federally funded. State Water Management Funds: Funds established to protect or improve water quality could apply to a greenways/trails project if a strong link exists between the development of a greenway and the adjacent/nearby water quality. Possible uses of these funds include: purchase critical strips of land along rivers and streams for protection which could then also be used for greenways; develop educational materials, displays; or for storm water management. VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE AND SMALL-SCALE DONATION PROGRAMS Greenway Sponsors: A sponsorship program for greenway amenities allows for smaller donations to be received both from individuals and businesses. The program must be well planned and organized, with design standards and associated costs established for each amenity. Project elements that may be funded can include mile markers, call boxes, benches, trash receptacles, entry signage and bollards and picnic areas. Volunteer Work: Community volunteers may help with greenway construction, as well as conduct fundraisers. Organizations which might be mobilized for volunteer work include the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Estate Donations: Wills, estates and trusts may be also dedicated to the appropriate agency for use in developing and/or operating the greenway system. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING SOURCES Some Federal programs offer financial aid for projects that aim to improve community infrastructure, transportation and housing and recreation programs. Some of the Federal programs that can be used to support the development of greenway systems include: The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21): The primary source of federal funding for greenways is through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). There are many sections of the Act that support the development of bicycle and pedestrian transportation corridors.

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Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG): The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers financial grants to communities for neighborhood revitalization, economic development and improvements to community facilities and services, especially in low and moderateincome areas. Several communities have used HUD funds to develop greenways, including the Boscobel Heights’ “Safe Walk” Greenway in Nashville, TN. Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grants: This Federal funding source was established in 1965 to provide “close-to-home” park and recreation opportunities to residents throughout the United States. Money for the fund comes from the sale or lease of nonrenewable resources, primarily federal offshore oil and gas leases and surplus federal land sales. LWCF grants can be used by communities to build a variety of parks & recreation facilities, including trails and greenways. LWCF funds are distributed by the National Park Service to the states annually. Communities must match LWCF grants with 50-percent of the local project costs through in-kind services or cash. All projects funded by LWCF grants must be used exclusively for recreation purposes, in perpetuity. Conservation Reserve Program: The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, provides payments to farm owners and operators to place highly erodible or environmentally sensitive landscapes into a 10-15 year conservation contract. The participant, in return for annual payments during this period, agrees to implement a conservation plan approved by the local conservation district for converting sensitive lands to less intensive uses. Individuals, associations, corporations, estates, trusts, cities, counties and other entities are eligible for this program. Funds from this program can be used to fund the maintenance of open space and nonpublic-use greenways, along bodies of water and ridgelines. Wetlands Reserve Program: The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides direct payments to private landowners who agree to place sensitive wetlands under permanent easements. This program can be used to fund the protection of open space and greenways within riparian corridors. Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention (Small Watersheds) Grants: The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides funding to state and local agencies or nonprofit organizations authorized to carry out, maintain and operate watershed improvements involving less than 250,000 acres. The NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to eligible projects to improve watershed protection, flood prevention, sedimentation control, public water-based fish and wildlife enhancements and recreation planning. The NRCS requires a 50-percent local match for public recreation, and fish and wildlife projects. Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program: The USDA provides small grants of up to $10,000 to communities for the purchase of trees to plant along City streets and for greenways and parks. To qualify for this program, a community must pledge to develop a street-tree inventory, a municipal tree ordinance, a tree commission, committee or department and an urban forestry-management plan. Small Business Tree-Planting Program: The Small Business Administration provides small grants of up to $10,000 to purchase trees for planting along streets and within parks or greenways. Grants are used to develop contracts with local businesses for the plantings. Economic Development Grants for Public Works and Development of Facilities: The U. S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), provides grants to states, counties and cities

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designated as redevelopment areas by EDA for public works projects that can include developing trails and greenway facilities. There is a 30-percent local match required, except in severely distressed areas where federal contribution can reach 80 percent. National Recreational Trails Program: These grants are available to government and non-profit agencies, for amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, for the building of a trail or piece of a trail. It is a reimbursement grant program (sponsor must fund 100% of the project up front) and requires a 20% local match. This is an annual program, with an application deadline at the end of January. The available funds are split such that 30% goes towards motorized trails, 30% to non-motorized trails and 40% is discretionary for trail construction. Design Arts Program: The National Endowment for the Arts provides grants to states and local agencies, individuals and nonprofit organizations for projects that incorporate urban design, historic preservation, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and other community improvement activities, including greenway development. Grants to organizations and agencies must be matched by a 50-percent local contribution. Agencies can receive up to $50,000. GRANTS THROUGH PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS AND CORPORATIONS Many communities have solicited greenway funding from a variety of private foundations and other conservation-minded benefactors. Some of these grants include: American Greenways Eastman Kodak Awards: The Conservation Fund’s American Greenways Program has teamed with the Eastman Kodak Corporation and the National Geographic Society to award small grants ($250 to $2000) to stimulate the planning, design and development of greenways. REI Environmental Grants: Recreational Equipment Incorporated awards grants to nonprofit organizations interested in protecting and enhancing natural resources for outdoor recreation. The company calls on its employees to nominate organizations for these grants, ranging from $500 to $8,000, which can be used for the following: 

Protect lands and waterways and make these resources accessible to more people

Better utilize or preserve natural resources for recreation

Increase access to outdoor activities

Encourage involvement in muscle-powered recreation

Promote safe participation in outdoor muscle-powered recreation, and proper care for outdoor resources

Coors Pure Water 2000 Grants: Coors Brewing Company and its affiliated distributors provide funding and in-kind services to grassroots organizations that are working to solve local, regional and national water-related problems. Coors provides grants, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $50,000, for projects such as river cleanups, aquatic habitat improvements, water quality monitoring, wetlands protection, pollution prevention, water education efforts, groundwater protection, water conservation and fisheries. World Wildlife Fund Innovative Grants Program: This organization awards small grants to local, regional and statewide nonprofit organizations to help implement innovative strategies for the conservation of natural resources. Grants are offered to support projects that accomplish one or more of the following:

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(1) conserve wetlands; (2) protect endangered species; (3) preserve migratory birds; (4) conserve coastal resources; and (5) establish and sustain protected natural areas, such as greenways. Innovative grants can help pay for the administrative costs for projects including planning, technical assistance, legal and other costs to facilitate the acquisition of critical lands; retaining consultants and other experts; and preparing visual presentations and brochures or other conservation activities. The maximum award for a single grant is $10,000. Bikes Belong: Bikes Belong Coalition is sponsored by members of the American Bicycle Industry. The grant program is a national discretionary program with a small budget, to help communities build TEA21-funded projects. They like to fund high-profile projects and like regional coalitions. An application must be supported by the local bicycle dealers (letters of support should be attached). Bikes Belong also offers advice and information on how to get more people on bikes. Government and non-profit agencies are eligible and no match is required. The maximum amount for a grant proposal is $10,000. Applications may be submitted at any time and are reviewed as they are received. Steelcase Foundation: Steelcase Foundation grants are restricted to locally sponsored projects in areas where there are Steelcase Inc. manufacturing plants. In general, Steelcase does not wish to be the sole funder supporting a program. Grants are also only made to non-profit organizations. It does support educational and environmental projects, and is particularly interested in helping the disadvantaged; disabled, young and elderly improve the quality of their lives. Applications may be submitted anytime and are considered by the Trustees four times a year. Wal-Mart Foundation: This foundation supports local community and environmental activities and educational programs for children (among other things). An organization needs to work with the local store manager to discuss application. Wal-Mart Foundation only funds 501(c)3 organizations.

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7.1.2 PARKS & RECRE ATION FUNDING S OURCES THAT FUND OPE RATIONAL AND CAPITAL COSTS The following funding sources can provide revenue opportunities for the Department, but it will take a dedicated staff person to investigate and pursue the source and manage for the future. The following are funding sources that can be developed for the City.

Redevelopment Money: Redevelopment money from the County or the State to promote economic development in the area. Redevelopment agencies are typically located as part of cities and counties in most states. Bed Tax (transient occupancy tax): A Bed Tax (transient occupancy tax) money from hotels and motels in the City who would directly benefit from the attractions or special events held at the City park sites. Counties usually manage this funding source, which would require the County to support the funding source. This could be one or two percent added to the existing bed tax to support the development of a specific facility or park. CDBG Money: This source can be used for a park site. The City does qualify for this funding source. Local, Regional or National Foundations: Many communities have turned to their local, regional and national foundations in their area to support the development of an element of the park system.

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Park Income Tax Issue: This would require local residents to vote on an income tax issue to develop or enhance existing and new parks from income taxes of residents and people who work in the City. Lease Back Option: The agency would enter into a lease back option with a private finance company to provide the financing for the project. The agency, along with their partners, would agree to pay the development costs back over a 30-year period from the revenues earned from the site or from general fund dollars dedicated to the project. Partnership Development Agreement: Each partner would develop their respective facilities based on set design guidelines with the City managing all the site elements. Partners would work collectively to promote the site as a whole versus individual amenities. This process was successful for Papago Park, located in the City of Phoenix, AZ. The site included a Major League Spring Training facility and Minor League Baseball Complex, Zoo, Botanical Gardens, History Museum and other attractions on site. Naming Rights: Private fundraising could be developed to fund a portion or all of it through naming rights for a park site and through individual amenity naming rights. Naming rights are calculated by the number of impression points by visitors to the site. A park could raise 20%-30% of the development costs from naming rights. Individual naming rights could support the development of sports fields, a dog park, skate park, ice rink, BMX track, winter sports area, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play area, hockey rink and golf course. Grants: Grants have always been a good source for funding of parks throughout the United States. Grants can be provided by the Federal Government such as the land and conservation fund, transportation enhancement funds for trails and greenways, state grant funds from gambling taxes or alcohol funds and local grants from community foundations. Research for funding included, but is not limited to: Federal / State Grants, Foundation Source and Corporate Grants for areas of support and fields of interest. Community Forest and Open Space Program: Federal Grant with Estimated Total Program Funding of $3,150,000. Individual grant applications may not exceed $400,000. The program pays up to 50% of the project costs and requires a 50% non-federal match. Eligible lands for grants funded under this program are private forests that are at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation and at least 75% forested. Land and Water Conservation Fund: Preserve, develop and renovate outdoor recreation facilities. Focus is on Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Great Outdoors Initiative. New or renovation of pavilions, playgrounds or play areas, ball fields, bleachers, golf course meeting rooms, multi-purpose courts, parking facilities, pathways and trails, roads, signs, ski areas, snowmobile facilities and tennis courts. Federal FundsAverage Award is $70,000. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program-fund: This source is for transportation projects that improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. Projects can include bicycle and pedestrian projects, trails, links to communities, bike rack facilities. Average grant size $50-$100,000. Ohio Community Foundations: In the area are some very large community foundations that the City should pursue for elements of the park systems needs to support economic development for the area. Community Facilities Grant and Loan Program-Grant Program: This source is established to assist communities with grant and loan funding for the expansion, renovation and or remodeling of former school facilities and or existing surplus government facilities that have an existing or future community use. Facilities may be space for community gatherings and functions, recreational athletic facilities for

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community members, particularly youth. These include space for non-for-profit offices, child care, community education, theater, senior centers, youth centers and after school programs. CFP match requirements for requests up to $250,000 are 10-% eligible project costs. For requests over $250,000 to $1 million, the match is 15%. American Hiking Society: Fund on a national basis for promoting and protecting foot trails and the hiking experience. The Helen R. Buck Foundation: recreational activities.

This foundation provides funding for playground equipment and

Deupree Family Foundation: The Deupree Family Foundation provides grants for Recreation, parks/playgrounds and children/youth, on a national basis. This foundation supports: building/renovation, equipment, general/operating support, program development and seed money. The John P. Ellbogen Foundation: Children/youth, services grants as well as support for capital campaigns, general/operating support and program development. Economic Development Grants for Public Works and Development of Facilities: The U. S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), provides grants to states, counties and cities designated as redevelopment areas by EDA for public works projects that can include developing trails and greenway facilities. There is a 30% local match required, except in severely distressed areas where the federal contribution can reach 80%. 7.1.3 OPERATIONAL FUNDING COSTS OPPORTUNITIES The Department has numerous revenue sources to draw from to support operational and management costs that include long term capital replacement costs. The following are funding options to consider in operations of the system: User fees: User fees to access or use elements of parks exist currently but could be expanded to include fees to access recreation and education programs, a dog park, a BMX track, skate park, nature center, sport leagues, winter sports area, ice skating, spray ground and golf for green fees, carts, leagues and lessons. The City does a good job in accessing user fees now. Concessions: Concessions can be leased out to a private operator for a percentage of gross profits. Typically, 15%-18% of gross profits for concessions of a profit operator, or a managing agency over a park site could manage concessions. Parking Fees: During major special tournaments, the City could charge a $5 parking fee for special events in the parks. Field Permits: The Department can issue field permits for practice or games. Permits should cover the operational cost of each field and management costs. If a private operator desires to rent the site for a sporting tournament for private gain, the Department should provide a permit fee plus a percentage of gross from the event for the exclusive use of the fields. Admission Fee: An admission fee to an event in the park can be utilized. Walking and Running Event Fees: Event fees for walking and running events in the park can be assessed for to cover safety staff managing the event in the park.

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Food and Equipment Sponsors: Official drink and food sponsors can be utilized for the Department. Each official drink and food sponsor pays back to the Department a set percentage of gross. Typically, this is 15%-20% of costs for being the official product and receiving exclusive pouring and food rights to the complex. Likewise official equipment sponsors work well for trucks, mowers and tractors. Advertising Revenue: Advertising revenue can come from the sale of ads on banners in the parks. The advertising could include trash cans, trail markers, visitor pull trailers, tee boxes, scorecards and in restrooms. Wi-Fi Revenue: The Department can set up a Wi-Fi area whereby a Wi-Fi vendor is able to sell the advertising on the Wi-Fi access banner to local businesses targeting the users of the site. This revenue has amounted to $20,000-$50,000 in revenue for similar systems. Cell Tower: Cell tower leases can be used. This revenue source would support $35,000-$50,000 annually for the site if cell towers in areas needing cell towers. Program Fees: Program Fees to support existing programs can be employed in the form of lessons, clinics, camps, life skill programs and wellness and fitness. These types program help support the operations of the park and recreation system as a whole. Special Event Sponsors: Special Events provides a great venue for special events sponsors as it applies to a concert, stage, entertainment and safety. Capital Improvement Fee: A Capital Improvement Fee on all programs and events can be added. A capital asset fee of $2-$3 on each person who participates in a class, event or program can be incorporated into the cost of the program or event. Room Reservations: Rental of rooms in the park system can gain operational revenues from these amenities with a typical range of $200-$500 a day for exclusive rental reservations. Volunteerism: The revenue source is an indirect revenue source in that persons donate time to the Department to assist in providing a product or service on an hourly basis. This reduces the Departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cost in providing the service plus it builds advocacy for the Department. Special Fundraiser: Many agencies hold special fundraisers on an annual basis to help cover specific programs and capital projects to be dedicated to a facility or Department as a whole. Catering: The Department has many sites that set up well to have high, medium and low level caterers on contract that groups can use. Caterers usually provide the parks with a fixed gross rate on food and beverage at 12%-15% of the cost of food and 18% of drink back to the Department.

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STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN 7.2.1 VISION To be the national leader in connecting people through play 7.2.2 MISSION To create memorable experiences through a culture of fun and customer service excellence 7.2.3 VALUES To fulfill the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA’s) 3 Pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity, Innovation, Financial Sustainability and Customer Service Excellence.

7.2.4 GOALS The following goals and objectives were established by City Council as they relate to the Parks and Recreation Department GOAL 1: FINANCIAL STABILITY Continue practices that ensure strong financial management and fiscal responsibility

OBJECTIVES    

Conduct annual forecasting of revenues and expenditures Develop balance budgets Prioritize key capital projects within debt limits Effectively manage enterprise funds, special revenue and governmental funds

GOAL 2: LEISURE, HEALTH, AND WELLNESS Implement programs and services designed to improve health, economic and social wellbeing of Citizens OBJECTIVES:   

Enhance recreational opportunities in the City Increase the offering of cultural opportunities within the City Establish an Aquatic Center within the City

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    

Continue to explore opportunities for water access to the Nansemond River Explore any and all financial options to purchase strategic properties that enhance the City’s green infrastructure Promote the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge as an Eco tourist destination. Implement programs and services designed to improve the health, economic and social well-being of individuals Enhance Lifelong Learning Opportunities

GOAL 3: EXPANDED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Implement strategies that add new businesses and provide jobs for a skilled and diverse workforce, retain and enhance existing businesses, promote entrepreneurship, create a vibrant downtown, and build an economy that expands our tax base GOAL 4: TRANSPORTATION Increase capacity and connectivity of our roadways and public transportation system OBJECTIVES   

Promote complete streets within the City that include sidewalks, bike lanes and trails. Improve safety and efficiency of roadways Increase capacity and connectivity of our major roadways and public transportation systems

GOAL 5: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND RESPONSIVE CITY SERVICES Ensure that all citizens have pertinent information in a timely manner and provide convenient and diverse means for citizen input; provide responsive, effective and efficient programs and services to citizens. OBJECTIVES     

Increase opportunities to receive feedback from citizens regarding program and service needs. Implement opportunities designed to instill community pride and citizen engagement. Provide exceptional customer service Maintain a well-trained and engaged workforce now and in the future Enhance efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services

GOAL 6: PUBLIC EDUCATION Create a structure of shared accountability between the City and Schools to build an educational environment known for excellence GOAL 7: GROWTH MANAGEMENT AND COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING Use the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Ordinance to enable and facilitate private investment in strategic target areas and preserve, conserve and protect the City’s unique and natural agricultural heritage GOAL 8: PUBLIC SAFETY Preserve, promote and continue to invest in public safety

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ACTION ITEMS All action items are categorized into three broad structures: On-going items that are a part of the continuous improvement of the Department Short-term items – 0-3 year implementation time frame Mid-term to Long-term items – 3 -5 years and beyond ON-GOING 

Create a sense of Destination for Suffolk as it relates to ecotourism and conservation education

Focus on customer service excellence and professionalism

o

Enhance internal customer service and staff capabilities by recruiting, retaining good quality staff and building a professional culture

o

Make customer service and diversity training an on-going experience

o

Develop succession plans for all levels

o

Structured staff training and development and cross training plan

o

Ensure staff diversity reflects the community/City that is being served

Update Program Age Segment, Classification and Lifecycle worksheets annually to ensure balance between all categories o

Ensure large number of programs in the intro stage transition repositioned

to the growth or are

o

Balance program offerings to multi-gen audience (62% of current offerings target age 24 or under)

Focus on existing facility upgrades/improvements/expansion o

Upgrade at least one recreation center / park every two years

Continue expanding special events and adult fitness and wellness program offerings

Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Evaluate grant opportunities

o

Continue seeking dedicated funding sources e.g. Bond/ Foundation?

Develop and annually update mini-business plans for key facilities

Create consistency and standardization in offerings and in service delivery o

Customer service culture plan e.g. email, uniforms, name tags, social media etc.

SHORT-TERM ITEMS 

Tell your story: develop a stand-alone Department Marketing and Branding Plan in 2016 (#1 barrier to participation according to statistically-valid survey is Lack of Awareness (42%))

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o o o o

Add full-time marketing specialist position and a full-time web development coordinator Continue to update responsive design website Build an App to promote agency offerings including revenue opportunities Improve ease of visibility to online registration process

Complete Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation

Develop / update revenue and pricing policy to focus on maximizing earned income generation o

Identify true cost of service offerings

Evaluate outdoor, adventure nature based gaming options (e.g. Agents of Nature) and establish a full-time position for conservation education

Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Funding to complete Architectural and Engineering plans and construction of Driver Athletic Complex

o

Explore National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Fund Your Park for crowdfunding options

o

Determine sponsorship opportunities and sponsorable value of individual amenities and entire system

Conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the financial viability and operating conditions for a new aquatic center

Focus on existing facility upgrades/improvements/expansion o

Address safety and code issues identified in the facilities report and ensure Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance system-wide

o

Renovate seasonal outdoor pool and add a splash park

o

Ensure ADA compliance system-wide

MID-TERM TO LONG-TERM ITEMS 

Increase public water access in Suffolk o

Identify and develop additional accesses to the Nansemond River and other important waterways for all kinds of recreational users

o

Build a public boat ramp (to accommodate large boats / water craft) close to the downtown area

Enhance local and regional trail and built environment connectivity o

Continue to develop and connect to the Seaboard Coastline Trail

o

Build or improve multi-use trail at public parks and facilities. Enhance trails with signage, fitness equipment and other amenities.

o

Develop a detailed bicycle and pedestrian plan for the City of Suffolk

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Expand and diversify funding opportunities o

Evaluate grant opportunities

o

Explore National Recreation and Park Association’s Fund Your Park for crowdfunding options

o

Determine sponsorship opportunities and sponsorable value of individual amenities and entire system

o

Naming Rights

Partnerships o

With schools for additional joint use agreements or joint facility development and use

o

Private developers for parks/amenities based on established design guidelines and standards

Build an aquatic center, if found feasible

Apply for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award.

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CONCLUSION This Master Plan update is a community-values based document and aligned with the National Recreation and Park Association’s 3 Pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity. It aims to be a realistic yet ambitious road map with strategic actions items and performance metrics tied to them. While, the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department has done a commendable job serving the community’s needs with the available resources, they are not content with the status quo and aspire to go from good to great.

The community and city leadership are very supportive and believe in the social and economic benefits of parks and recreation. It is essential that the department continue to validate those benefits by forging new partnerships, building a connected community and maintaining a culture of accountability and internal /external customer service excellence. Accomplishing these goals will be a huge step towards fulfilling their vision of becoming the ‘national leader in connecting people through play’.

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APPENDIX A – SUFFOLK PARKS AND RECREATION TRAILS AND WATER ACCESS STUDY 2015 INTRODUCTION This study, by the Department of Parks and Recreation, summarizes ideas regarding recreational trails, connectivity and water access for the City of Suffolk. SUFFOLK 2035 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN Maintaining an efficient transportation network with effective choices for mobility is an important policy of Suffolk’s recently adopted comprehensive plan. The plan emphasizes two transportation issues: connectivity and transportation options. It explains that the current development pattern is largely automobile-oriented, and, although efforts have been made to improve the walkability of existing and new developments; pedestrian and bicycle connections are still needed throughout the City. SUFFOLK’S PARKS AND RECREATION MASTER PLAN 2015 During the Parks and Recreation Master Plan process, walking and biking trails were identified as the number one priority need in the City of Suffolk. Riverfront trails were ranked 7th and boat ramps and kayak access 13th.

Suffolk Facility/Amenity Priority Rankings

Walking & biking trails Indoor swimming Indoor walking & running track Indoor fitness facilities Small neighborhood parks Playgrounds Riverfront trails Outdoor water spray parks Picnic areas/shelters Gymnasium for basketball/volleyball Outdoor amphitheater Large community parks Boat ramps/kayak access Environmental education center Campsites/campgrounds Outdoor basketball courts Off-leash dog park Mountain biking trails Soccer fields Football fields Skateboard parks Youth baseball fields Outdoor tennis court Adult softball fields Disc golf course Youth softball fields Pickleball courts

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Overall Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27


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SUFFOLK SEABOARD COASTLINE TRAIL OPPORTUNITIES One of the most significant trail opportunities in Suffolk is the development of a former railroad corridor that extends from northern Suffolk through Downtown and west to Isle of Wight County. The entire length of the corridor is 21 miles. Currently, 3.8 miles of multi-use trail has been completed (1.5 miles in Downtown and 2.3 miles from Driver to Shoulders Hill Road). Funding for an additional 1.0 miles is available to extend the trail from Shoulders Hill Road to the Suffolk/Chesapeake City line.

REGIONAL CONNECTIONS TO SUFFOLK SEABOARD COASTLINE TRAIL The Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail also provides opportunities to connect trail systems that extend across the region, state and nation. The South Hampton Roads Regional Trail will extend through the cities of Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The Beaches to Bluegrass Trail crosses Virginia from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Virginia Beach. The East Coast Greenway stretches from Maine to Florida. Suffolk will be a significant destination on all trails.

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OPPORTUNITIES TO CONSTRUCT TRAILS AT PARKS AND FACILITIES The Parks and Recreation Department continues to look for opportunities to construct trails in all existing parks and facilities. In the last two years, approximately 2 miles of multi-use trails were built at Lake Meade Park, and a walking trail was constructed at the Whaleyville Recreation Center. Many of our smaller parks have walking loops including Planter’s Park, Cypress Park, Magnolia Park, and Pughesville Park. Opportunities for new or improved trails include:     

Lake Kennedy Park Bennett’s Creek Park Sleepy Hole Park Lone Star Lakes Park Northern Recreation Center

OPPORTUNITIES TO CONSTRUCT TRAILS WITH EXPANSION OF MAJOR STREETS There will be significant opportunities to install sidewalks, bike lanes and/or trails for safe pedestrian and bicycle travel as major streets are improved to accommodate future growth.

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OPPORTUNITIES IN NORTHERN GROWTH AREA Trail connections to the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail are needed in Suffolkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northern growth area. Many of these connections can be made as roads are improved to accommodate future growth.

OPPORTUNITIES IN CENTRAL GROWTH AREA Trails connection to the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail are needed in the central growth area. Important areas to connect include the historic downtown area and the North Main Street commercial area.

OPPORTUNITIES TO CONSTRUCT TRAILS IN NEW PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS Opportunities for private recreational trails exist with the construction of new residential developments.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRAILS 1. Construct Section 4B of the Seaboard Coastline Trail (SSCT) (1.0 Miles) from Shoulders Hill Road to the Chesapeake city line. 2. Seek funding for design and construction of additional sections of the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail. 3. Develop or improve existing walking and biking trails at the following public parks and recreation facilities.  Lake Kennedy Park  Bennett’s Creek Park  Sleepy Hole Park  Lone Star Lakes Park  Northern Recreation Center  Driver Sports Complex 4. Develop a detailed bicycle and pedestrian plan for the City of Suffolk including:  A network of trails and sidewalks connecting neighborhoods, public parks facilities, schools and the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail.  Plans for the north and central growth areas.  A strategy for developing complete street with sidewalks, bike lanes and/or trails when major streets are expanded.  Trail connections to the Dismal Swamp and the South Quay State Sandhills Natural Area. 5. Identify funding for design and construction of connections from adjacent neighborhoods public parks and facilities to the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail. 6. Encourage the construction of multi-use trails in all large subdivisions and residential developments.

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RIVERS AND LAKES IN SUFFOLK The City of Suffolk has many tidal creeks and rivers that flow to the James River. The largest is the Nansemond River that flows north from Downtown Suffolk to the James. A portion of the Blackwater River forms the southwestern boundary of the City.

An abundance of fresh water lakes are located in the City. Many of the largest are owned by local municipality and are used for drinking water. Most allow some public access for fishing and boating.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO TIDAL CREEKS AND RIVERS There are few public access points to tidal creeks and rivers. Bennettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek boat ramp is the only public access ramp. Lone Star Lakes Park has a small floating dock to launch canoes/kayaks. New launches are underway for Sleepy Hole Park and Constantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wharf Park and Marina.

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Master Plan Update

SUFFOLK WATER TRAIL Suffolk Water Trail is a recreational trail designated along the Nansemond River and other connected creeks adjacent to the Nansemond.

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH CHESAPEAKE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL The Suffolk Water Trail became a part of the National Park Service’s national water trail in 2014. This trail follows the voyages of Captain John Smith’s through the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1600’s. The Nansemond River was explored on Voyage 2. The trail encourages the exploration of the bay and its tributaries by boat. Bennett’s Creek Park was designated as an access point in 2014.

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Parks and Recreation Department

FUTURE WATER ACCESS The City of Suffolk continues to work diligently to identify and develop public access to the Nansemond River. In addition to accesses at Sleepy Hole Park and Constantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wharf, the City plans to develop facilities at Driver Sports Complex and Lone Star Lakes, and continues to look for an opportunity to develop a boat ramp on the lower Nansemond.

WATER ACCESS ON THE BLACKWATER RIVER The Blackwater River was designated as a Scenic River by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Boat ramps for access to the river exist in Franklin and South Hampton Counties, but none in Suffolk. Virginia DCR is developing the South Quay State Sandhills Natural Area adjacent to a portion of the Blackwater River in Suffolk. There may be a future opportunity to partner with the State to develop another river access.

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Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WATER ACCESS 1. Complete construction of a canoe/kayak launch at Sleepy Hole Park by February 2016. 2. Complete construction of a canoe/kayak launch at Constantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wharf Park and Marina May 2016. 3. Improve the existing canoe/kayak launch at Bennettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek Park. 4. Construct a canoe/kayak launch on Chuckatuck Creek in Lone Star Lakes Park. 5. Secure a site and construct a boat ramp on the Nansemond River near Downtown. 6. Construct a canoe/kayak launch and fishing pier on Driver Sports Complex Property. 7. Determine the feasibility of establishing water access, including a boat ramp, on the James River. 8. Work with Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to determine the feasibility of establishing water access on the Black Water River on or near the South Quay Sandhills Natural Area.

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Profile for City of Suffolk, Virginia

Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update (February 2016)  

Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update (February 2016)  

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