The Fresno City Council voted 7-0 Thursday to hire a consultant firm to give the city’s parks master plan a major facelift. The contract is for up to $450,000.
The Philadelphia-based consultants, Wallace, Roberts & Todd, LLC will launch a community outreach program to gather input on parks and recreation areas. It will present its finished plan to the council in December.
In 2015, the city updated the parks master plan – which was written in 1989 – to deal with a critical need for green space throughout the city – especially south of Shaw Avenue.
Many in the community believed the updates were not enough. Council members Sal Quintero and Esmeralda Soria pushed Mayor Ashley Swearengin hard for a bigger slice of the budget for parks last June. Many advocacy and community groups joined in.
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The latest revision is expected to be the most substantial update to the plan since the 1990s.
Soria suggested a full rewrite, but the council moved forward with the current plan.
Councilman Lee Brand expressed some worry over a funding source for park maintenance in the coming years, but he called the new update “a major step in the right direction.”
The council also unanimously approved a joint-use agreement with Fresno Unified that will open 14 school sites for use as playgrounds during summer weekends, beginning in early June. The schools will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
In April, the council reached a similar deal with Central Unified School District for two of its schools.