Milton's consultants have been working for 75 days to help craft a Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and to no one's surprise they say the city needs more parks and recreation programs.
Chris Kingsbury of Moreland Altobelli said one of the first steps was to combine the Milton Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan with the Birmingham Park and the Milton Trails Update.
The master plan done by Fulton County is a great resource, he said, "You re lucky to have it in some ways." But it is for a regional park, not a city park.
Recreation surveys show many people as they get older use trails as their recreation outlet, and even at times as a mode of transportation. He said that's "a hot topic as gasoline prices creep up."
Kingsbury said the city has to consider the options of what it wants, needs and can afford.
His coworker, David Gjertson, said the Milton Trails Update done by Georgia Tech in 2007 is a very complex study.
"Our job is to learn out of that plan what is relevant," Gjertson said.
And things have changed, with the Crabapple Crossroads study and the Livable Communities Initiative in Deerfield that has a trail component.
"The big question is, how to you deliver with a 20-year timeline for a park master plan? How do you serve the population equally," Gjertson said.
The city's 2010 population of 32,661 is projected to jump to 51,900 by 2030, he said.
City Councilman Matt Kunz wanted to know if a study had even been done on the return on investment of parks.
Gjertson said that's tough to do because it's difficult to find cities comparable to Milton. But those kind of numbers are expected to be in the final report.
"Are you going to give information concerning what the standards should be for Milton should be for Milton before you actually start drawing things out," asked Councilwoman Karen Thurman.
Gjertson said they are about 30 percent done with their work, and it will have real, hard numbers. And to her question about other resources in the city, the plan will include an inventory of private facilities, such as tennis courts and playgrounds in subdivisions. The city wouldn't want to replicate those facilities right outside the subdivision's boundaries.
Thurman's question about an email from the Milton Horse Council saying they support "Plan A" allowed the consultants and mayor to clear up the misconception that there already are plans.
Kingsbury explained a workshop including an exercise by the left and right sides of the room designed to generate input from residents. The point of the exercise was that input, not actual plans.
"Just to be clear that was an exercise," said Mayor Joe Lockwood.
"Not a plan," added Councilman Burt Hewitt.
Councilman Bill Lusk wanted more specifics in the consultant's final report.
"At the end of your study, do you perceive us having a priroty list?," Lusk said.
Gjertson said that would be included. He said the first 5 to 10 years will be pretty clear on priorities, but after that priorities may change.