Parks are popular with Gig Harbor residents, who are frequently out enjoying the city’s 72 acres of city parks.
The city has updated its Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan — last updated in 2010 — in order to remain eligible for grants and funding.
The PROS Plan is updated ever six years, and the current plan was updated from September to December of 2015.
Emily Terrell, Principal of Sound Municipal Consultants a contractor hired by the city, presented the PROS Plan to the City Council at the meeting Monday night and highlighted the extensive public comment received on what Gig Harbor residents wanted in their public spaces.
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Some of the requests from the almost 300 comments included better access to community beaches, more bike lanes and trails and — the most popular request — a splash park or public pool.
Currently, the city maintains 15 developed parks including eight miles of trails and more than 61 acres of dedicated open space and undeveloped parkland.
“The peninsula is very, very well served by park and recreational services on all levels,” Appleton said.
The goals for the 2016 PROS plan include many of the goals from the 2010 plan, along with updates and maintenance to recreational facilities, open space preservations, wildlife resources and play structures and indoor facilities. In order to maintain service standards for the population growth in Gig Harbor, by 2030 the city will need to acquire an additional 53.08 acres of parkland and develop 3.84 additional miles of trails
The priorities for the 2016 plan include a goal of constructing new neighborhood parks for all ages within half a mile of walking distance for current and future Gig Harbor populations.
Another goal is to increase public beach access at Sunrise Beach Park, Maplewood Park and Wollochet Bay in partnership with PenMet Parks and work with Pierce County to improve parking at county-controlled boat launches.
Further goals include creating a greenway system for non-motorized access to Gig Harbor parks for 80 percent of the city’s population, create an open space network to allow for wildlife habitats, ongoing maintenance and care of current parks and to acquire new parks properties and open space acreage for the anticipated populations in 2030.
Appleton stated that the average budgeted expenditure has been about $2.5 million per year.
“Gig Harbor has done a good job of supporting their parks network,” she said.
Pierce Transit Long Range Plan
Pierce Transit planners Darin Stavish and Max Henkle presented the organization’s Destination 2040 Long Range Plan, which includes transit services to Gig Harbor.
A 2014 rider survey was being considered in the plan to meet needs of riders, including more service hours on evenings and weekends, Stavish said.
Pierce Transit is looking to improve and maintain its reputation, Stavish said, and are working to attract new “choice” riders for its services.
Henkle presented proposed new transit routes through Gig Harbor, which include alterations to the existing 100 route and the addition of a 103 route that would serve the west side of Gig Harbor.
The first step to improve transit services in Gig Harbor would be to increase ride frequency on the 100 route — which currently runs every 60 minutes beginning at either TCC or the Gig Harbor Park & Ride — to every 30 minutes.
However, these changes are dependent on funding, Henkle said, and additional routes are several years down the road.
Waterfront Farmer’s Market
Volunteers from the 2015 Waterfront Farmer’s Market — led by Kathleen and Scott Rose — were recognized for their work and dedication to the event.
“They are an amazing group of volunteers who went above and beyond to make that farmers market a success,” City Administrator Ron Williams said. “It wasn’t just a farmers market, it was a food access market.”
Kathleen Rose said that she was still working behind the scenes at the market to help keep it farm and food focused.
Council member Tim Payne thanked the volunteers for their work and dedication to the market.
“I know the hard work and the passion that went into this, and there’s absolutely no question in my mind as we go into this year and with the new individual in charge of the market are steps ahead of where they would have been without you,” Payne said. “You truly are heroes of the community. I really wish more people could see that and know that.”
The volunteers were invited to next Council meeting when a formal volunteer recognition will be held for all city volunteers.