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City staff will spend the next several weeks working on an implementation strategy.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Maple Street Park

The City of Canby recently adopted its first master plan for the Parks & Recreation department in two decades.

A city should ideally update its master plan every five to seven years, City Administrator Scott Archer said. Suffice it to say, the city's park system was long overdue for a revamped vision.

Over the next several weeks, city staff will be working with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on an implementation strategy. Priorities for the implementation strategy are to be determined, Archer said.

The master plan is a long-term vision meant to improve and update the city's parks, recreational facilities, athletic fields, amenities, programs and services, with the community's input at the forefront.

Participation in the need-assessment portion of the plan was higher than Archer anticipated, with more than 1,100 responses. Nearly two-thirds of the residents who participated in the planning process have lived in the city for more than 20 years, according to city documents.

Now after 18 months of steering committee meetings, public open houses, and surveys, city staff have a big-picture idea of how to move forward. The key now will be turning concepts into reality.

"The community told us what they want and what they don't want," Archer said. "Now we need to figure out what we need to do to implement it."

While it's still too early in the process for staff to say what part of the parks system they intend on prioritizing first, survey responses indicate that a new community center and sports field, as well as a new dog park, are top-of-mind as far as new amenities Canby residents would like to see.

Another top priority is providing beach access to the Willamette River, particularly for non-motorized boats and water activities, according to survey responses.

Another notable comment in the survey responses includes a proposal to look at The City of Sherwood as a model to possibly partner with the YMCA to develop and operate a community center, aquatic center and sports center. Community members also flagged parking at all parks and facilities as something that should be improved.

Archer said that city staff intends on keeping the implementation strategy "Canby specific." This means preserving Canby's "small-town character" and keeping it livable. Parks and recreation play a significant role in maintaining a small-town identity, Archer added.

"We're at an exciting time in Canby's history where we have this very good and very ambitious park plan that basically says it's time for us to take the next steps as a community in parks and recreation services and as a city organization," Archer said.


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