Aitkin City Park Committee Presented Concept Maps and Facilitated Community Engagement at the Aitkin County Fair
12/22/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator
Comprehensive and inclusive park planning addresses improved access to parks, trails, greenways, and open spaces, and provides opportunities for physical activity, especially for communities experiencing the greatest barriers to access.
The City of Aitkin Park Committee has embarked on just this kind of planning effort. The mission of the committee is to enhance the quality of life for community members by providing well-maintained parks and public places, preserving open space, caring for people, prioritizing safety, and strengthening the bonds of community.
One engagement activity invited community members to consider how they would invest funds in the park. Six imitation dollars were handed out to each participant, who then had to choose categories such as an iconic playground, trails, and an outdoor classroom to deposit their money into. Another opportunity for feedback occurred at the Aitkin County Fair this past July, when over 200 people viewed 3 proposed concept maps and voted for their favorite, with concept number three receiving the most votes.
The next steps in this project will be to host a final input session. Confluence will be coming to Aitkin to facilitate this on January 25, 2023. The Park Committee is inviting community members and anyone with vested interest in this project to be part of the discussion. The goal is to gather at the table to determine a preferred concept map together. Confluence will present the final concept to the city council by spring of 2023. With this roadmap in place to help our community visualize what the park can become, the work of securing funding opportunities and implementing pieces of the map will begin.