Strafford Regional Planning Commission’s (SRPC) partnership with Dover to update the City’s Culture and Recreation chapter of its master plan has culminated with the adoption of the document at the May 26 City Planning Board meeting.
Beginning in September 2019, this nine-month project allowed SRPC staff to work closely with Dover’s Planning and Recreation departments, and with a group of municipal volunteers serving on a project steering committee. The steering committee was invaluable throughout the project by guiding outreach, providing input, and shaping the plan to reflect feedback from residents and visitors.
The 2020 plan differs from the 2009 iteration in that it integrates public art and places an emphasis on recreation programming options and opportunities in the City. Content on these topics was largely informed by an extensive outreach process. SRPC project staff attended four events, digitally distributed two surveys, and received feedback from over 1,200 individuals. Unique outreach approaches were vital in achieving the amount of input the project received, and included large chalkboard open response questions, sticky dot visual preference surveys, and graphic renderings of art options informed by participant ideas and preferences.
Speaking about the process, Communications and Outreach Planner Shayna Sylvia shared, “This was a great collaboration with the City of Dover in that it allowed SRPC staff to creatively find new ways to engage the greater public and solicit feedback on topics identified by the City. We wanted to design the outreach in a way that allowed a variety of people to participate from younger children, using a “design your own dream park" sticker activity, to older children and adults with the visual preference surveys, to online surveys that could be taken both digitally and in a hard copy format.”
The planning process was also unique in that it leveraged a regional recreation resource created through SRPC’s
Pathways to Play program
. For this prior project, SRPC mapped recreational resources in each of its eighteen communities, so this data was at an advanced starting point when analyzing Dover’s recreational resources.
In addition to the geographic data analyzed, SRPC staff and other volunteers helped to inventory 24 out of 39 recreation sites in the City, assessing individual park needs. This helped inform direct site-based recommendations that were incorporated into the plan that complimented more general recommendations from the planning and recreation departments, the steering committee, and from participant feedback.
The chapter will be formalized as part of a resolution at the Planning Board’s next meeting, where the Chair will sign a certificate of adoption recognizing that the chapter is adopted and certified in accordance with all relevant state statutes.
To chapter is available on the
, under the heading "Recreation-2020."