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Chicago Daily Herald
Time is running out for residents who want to help shape the future of the Elmhurst Park District.
District officials on Thursday will hold their final open houses to gather feedback on what should be included in a comprehensive and strategic plan that will drive long-term planning and guide decision-making for the next three to five years.
Participants will be asked to provide input and react to possible strategies for parks, programs and facilities.
"We want to hear what the community's thoughts are to help prioritize the strategies in the plan," said Laura Guttman, district strategy and planning coordinator. "This is the opportunity for members of the community to say they prefer one strategy over another."
Residents will be asked about possible park improvements, proposed amenities such as dog parks, and a potential indoor sports facility.
During a recent survey, a majority of respondents said the district should focus on adding more walking and biking trails along with indoor fitness facilities. The survey results also showed support for creating the district's first dog parks.
Thursday's open houses are scheduled for 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Wagner Community Center, 615 N. West Ave., and 5 to 7 p.m. at Courts Plus, 186 S. West Ave.
"We're hosting the meetings during busy times at those two facilities," Guttman said, "so we're hoping that people who are already at the facilities participate. Members of the community who are interested in participating also can attend."
For anyone who can't make the sessions, an online survey is scheduled to start by Monday and be available for about two weeks. Links to the survey will be on the district website at epd.org and at epdvision2020.com.
Park district officials chose to develop the strategic and comprehensive plans at the same time because the existing documents expire at the end of the year.
The new strategic plan will cover a three-year period while the comprehensive plan will cover five years.
District staff members will use feedback gathered from the community to create a draft of the proposed comprehensive and strategic master plans that will be reviewed in June by the park board.
Guttman said the goal is to have a final version of the plan approved by the end of June so officials can use the document when they work on their 2018 budget.
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