The Four Towns Steering Committee is pleased to announce its intention to host public hearings to present and discuss the Four Towns Recreation Plan and Report. The Plan has been prepared over the course of the past eighteen months by collaboration of representatives of the four Chester and Mendham municipalities as advisors to Kinsey Associates, an area recreation consultancy. The Report, funded by a grant from the State of New Jersey and authorized by both Boroughs and both Townships, was conceived as a vehicle to examine strategies to enhance and economize delivery of recreation services by coordinated planning, management and facility programming to meet the needs of the Four Towns by resource sharing.
The report is nearing completion and will be presented to the public for discussion and comment prior to submission to the administrations of the Four Towns for final review. When finalized, this report is intended to provide a guidance document for subsequent planning initiatives and to recommend priorities for creation of a balanced, unified approach to future area recreation needs. The Steering Committee is optimistic that each of the participating communities will endorse this plan as capable model for more effective, less costly future improvement of service and facilities within the Chesters and Mendhams.
The Plan has emerged through a long sequence of work sessions by the Committee and has been informed by research and assessments prepared by the Consultant. Theses included: comprehensive facility, site and program inventory of existing recreation systems; interviews and questionnaire responses prepared by area sports associations; and review of documentary records provided by each municipality. Initially, the Plan focused on area organized sports but its scope was expanded to consider overall recreation issues confronting the Four Towns. Ultimately, preliminary report drafts were revised, reordered, and expanded to the Plan’s current condition, which, after distribution to each of the Towns, in draft form, has produced few significant revisions.
The Plan document consists of inventories, mapping, site analysis, needs assessments, statistical characteristics, planning history, demographics and community specific evaluations as well as whole service area issues. It describes a variety of system deficiencies and opportunities and proposes sequences of potential responses to their resolution.
As this Plan is directed at the future direction of recreation management within the Four Towns and as thousands of area residents have and continue to support area youth through direct effort, it is a shared hope of the Steering Committee that many will join these presentations to lend to discussion of the Plan. To facilitate prior opportunity to study the report, it will be available for download on Township and Borough websites in the next two weeks. Meetings are scheduled for October 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm at the Garabrant Center in Mendham Borough and on October 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm at Chester Township Town Hall.
All interested residents are encouraged to join the meeting and as possible, to peruse the report on line, to identify matters of interest that you may like to discuss. This Plan represents an enormous quantity of volunteer time and effort over many months. Hopefully, it will serve to inform and to stimulate continuing citizen involvement in advancing a variety of opportunities for a shared, community based recreation future.