Mill Creek seeks levy, improvements in 10-year plan
By Susan Tebben
The Mill Creek MetroParks Board heard the new plan for improvements, branding and marketing at the parks for the next 10 years.
A big part of the plan is creating a strategy to lead to the passage of a levy and using marketing and promotion to bring a long-term financial and cost-recovery plan, said Dennis Miller, executive director said at Monday’s board meeting.
The details of the levy amount were not available, and the board must further discuss the issue.
Board members will have a meeting and work session Saturday to discuss the 2013 budget and take a vote.
Without a concrete budget and without knowing the full plan of action for capital improvements and other park- district priorities, the plan right now is for the board to put in place the strategy for a levy in 2014 and how to get it passed.
Miller presented the park district’s action-plan summary for 2013-23, outlining goals and changes in community engagement, natural resources, recreation and education, infrastructure, staff and stewardship.
The first part of the plan was enacted at the meeting with the welcome of Samantha Villella as the new community- engagement director. She will start March 25. Details on her salary were not available at the meeting.
“With community engagement, we’re going to combine the efforts of the marketing and development department with the recreation and education department,” Miller said, adding that this will help the programming and promotion of the parks get out to larger audiences.
Miller said members of the public often have said they didn’t realize some of the services the MetroParks provides, and this new coordinated effort will work better to get the message out.
One of the board’s requests that made it into the goals was a trail- assessment plan to prioritize improvements.
“The trails were a top priority in the public comment as well,” Miller said.
Trail improvements are on the list of infrastructure goals, including capital improvements and changes to parks’ schedules, Miller said, though specifics were not outlined at the meeting.
On the marketing side, though, plans and development already are in place for a new logo and look for MetroParks displays and promotional materials.
“The goal is to have something that is immediately identifiable as the MetroParks,” said Linda Kostka, marketing director. “We’re working on the logo right now and making sure it works in all formats.”