By Jill Fox
With last year’s strategic planning meetings canceled due to Covid-19, the Parkland City Commission had its first opportunity to set priorities for future capital projects.
“I am excited about the direction the city is headed,” said Mayor Rich Walker. “We had a lot of excellent input from the commission, and city staff provided the needed information to help us make good decisions.”
Beginning with an updated vision and mission for the city, the meetings on April 11, April 12, and April 29 — the only one that was recorded, addressed goals following a citizens’ survey and other feedback from the community, to determine the facilities most important to residents.
Park field maintenance was at the top of the list.
During strategic planning, the commission gave City Manager Nancy Morando approval to move forward with a $20 million loan for the new 36-acre park, located at the corner of Nob Hill Road and Hillsboro Blvd, and to improve existing parks and make other city improvements.
The funds to repay the debt will come from the current half-cent sales tax and utility service tax. Walker said this would not present a new cost to residents.
Development of the new 36-acre park should commence in October after the budget is approved.
Other park maintenance over the next three years includes landscaping enhancements, bathroom renovations, new water fountains, scoreboards, additional turf fields, resodding, additional car charging stations, basketball court resurfacing, new dugouts, and more. However, Walker mentioned the skyrocketing price of materials might cause these desired projects to change.
As part of the strategic plan to oversee the city’s future development, staff proposed hiring two new positions. One is a sustainable development director to work with the building, engineering, planning, and zoning departments, which includes helping solve the wedge drainage issues. Another is a staff senior planner to replace the team currently contracted out. Both salaries would cost a total of $315,000.
In September, following workshops and two budget readings, the commission will finalize the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.