Bond Program Overview
The Parks Bond program is the result of years of prior planning. In 2016, the City Commission approved a comprehensive parks and recreation system master plan. The master plan was developed with extensive public input and identified a list of needed park improvements based on the community’s expressed needs and priorities. In 2018, City residents voted to approve the issuance of bonds to fund these much-needed improvements. This measure resulted in the approval of $200 million for improvements to the park system at more than 90 parks throughout the community. The implementation of the Parks Bond program began in the fall of 2020 and has since made significant progress towards the planned improvements.
The Parks Bond program was kickstarted by launching an extensive engagement effort in early 2021, with the goal of gathering community input to prioritize the improvements for each of the 90 parks in the program. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and strongly aligned with prior outreach conducted during the 2016 Parks and Recreation System Master Plan. The public engagement effort assisted in identifying 39 parks throughout the City that would be included in Phase 1 of design and construction. Site plans for all 39 parks have been finalized, with nine currently in the design phase and 25 additional projects readied for design and construction. Five parks have been completed previously or continue to move forward outside of the bond program. Signature projects have also moved forward alongside Phase 1, with the construction of the Tunnel Top Pedestrian Plaza Project in September 2021. Design work is well underway on both Carter Park and Holiday Park, and the City also remains focused on connectivity initiatives as well as land acquisition opportunities for additional parkland. In addition to Phase 1, parks in Phase 2 have also been identified and are set to move into design in early 2023. Projects requiring additional public input and prioritization will be included in Phase 3, with these efforts kicking off in the fall of 2023.