Prineville is definitely growing, and we need to be prepared for what comes next


I don’t know about you, but I like to keep an eye on the real estate market. I’m always intrigued by what’s for sale, how much it costs, and what’s being built. Have you noticed how expensive houses in Prineville have become? As I click around on various listings, most of them have a pending notice on them!

Prineville is definitely growing, and we need to be prepared for what’s next. That is precisely why Crook County Parks and Recreation District and the City of Prineville have spent the last year and a half working on a Unified Parks and Recreation System Plan. You may have heard about this plan online or in the paper, but if you are like me, you may be wondering, “What on earth is this thing and what’s the big deal?”

Well, let me try and do my best to explain what this plan is and why it is a big deal. Parks don’t just magically get built, and land doesn’t just suddenly expand to make room once a housing development is built. There is a lot of planning that goes into decisions about what types of parks and trails should get built and where they should go. A system plan also gives us a road map on how to offer new recreation programs as we consider what types of things are important to the community.

One of the cool things about this plan is that it’s not just MY plan, it’s OUR plan. We did our best to involve as many folks as possible and get their input. It wasn’t just a little meeting where a few people show up and we call that “informed community input.” No, we hired professional consultants who know what they are doing to find out what the community wants and needs. We conducted public meetings. We paid for a statistically valid survey. We did online surveys. We reached out to the Crook County School District, Crook County administration, local businesses, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

The City of Prineville was a co-sponsor of this plan and incredibly involved. We evaluated existing conditions, analyzed opportunities and challenges, developed an inventory, and specified park types such as neighborhood parks, community parks, natural areas, special use sites and undeveloped parks.

We looked at trails, recreation programs and events, management, and operations. We looked at trends and opportunities for partnerships and resource sharing. We considered how to connect people of all ages to nature and evaluated how to “activate parks” and make them more welcoming. We considered community cohesiveness and inclusion. We researched outdoor recreation and tourism and how this ties into our system. We looked at how to make our parks more diversified and cater to multi-generational experiences that focus on offering age-appropriate activities that all can enjoy.

We strategized opportunities for year-round enjoyment and what we should do with our aging pool. We discussed how to integrate nature into our future parks so residents can experience wildlife and go bird watching while walking their dog or getting great exercise too.

We developed a strategic framework that sets the direction and guidance for the future of our park system. This starts with a vision, then identifies goals, and breaks them down to strategic directions. And finally, we lay out specific recommendations on how to implement this new plan.

This plan is not something that will happen overnight: its very purpose is to keep us pointed in the right direction. As opportunities and funding allow, we can move forward and keep building a parks and recreation system that we can all be proud of.

If you would like to take a look at all the details in this plan, you can find them on our website at: https://ccprd.org/park/unified-parks-and-recreation-plan/.

Happy New Year!


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