Durango City Council on Tuesday approved a 10-year parks and recreation spending plan, a document with more than $300 million in proposed projects.
The 2020 Parks, Open Space, Trails & Recreation Master Plan presented and adopted at City Council’s regular meeting provides a framework for how city staff will invest taxpayer dollars in the next decade. The council approved the plan on a 3 to 2 vote.
The plan includes a list of proposed investments for parks, trails, recreation amenities and river access. Projects range in cost from $200,000 to build a trailhead at Three Springs to developing Durango Mesa Park at a cost of more than $100 million.
The document does not require City Council to appropriate the more than $332 million to complete all of the projects in the plan, said Cathy Metz, Parks and Recreation Department director. It serves rather as a road map for future spending and can help the city when it applies for grants, showing the department has a plan for how to spend budgeted and awarded money.
City Councilors Kim Baxter and Barbara Noseworthy said the ambitious list of projects should consider the public funds available in the next 10 years to invest in parks and recreation projects. Both Baxter and Noseworthy did not vote to adopt the plan Tuesday and cited similar concerns about expected revenues relative to proposed spending in October, when the City Council sought revisions after it was asked to approve the plan.
Before voting to approve the document, City Councilors Melissa Youssef, Dean Brookie and Chris Bettin said the plan serves as a guiding tool and not a binding decision.
The plan can be revised like any other master plan, Brookie said. It’s subject to further scrutiny twice, as city boards consider five-year strategic plans and annual budget appropriations, Youssef said.
“It’d be nice to have unanimous consensus, but it’s not necessary,” she said.
The master plan is also a critical document required for national accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, which provides the department with a management system of best practices.
The city of Durango is one of 172 CAPRA accredited agencies around the country.