The city will host the first of a series of three public meetings today, hoping to find out what the public wants to see in the future of Carthage's public parks.
The first of three “visioning meetings” will be held from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. today (Thursday) at Carthage's Memorial Hall.
Refreshments will be provided and the meeting will be an open forum.
“We really want to have some new ideas to make the parks better,” said Parks and Recreation Director Alan Bull. “We know there are things we can do to maintain what we have, but we're looking for ideas from the public for how to make them better.”
Bull said graduate students from Drury University's Center for Community Studies, a part of the Drury's Hammons School of Architecture, will lead the meeting. Members of the newly formed Carthage Parks and Recreation Visioning and Advisory Committee, a group of local residents who will work with the students, will be on hand as well.
People who attend will be divided into small groups to brainstorm for things the people would like to see in the parks.
Bull said the students will keep to that two-hours schedule.
The process is similar to a downtown visioning committee that was formed and is still working on ideas generated by a previous group of Drury students in the spring of 2011.
The Vision Carthage Committee still meets monthly and is still exploring ways to adapt the ideas generated by that group of students into a revitalize Carthage downtown area.
Bull said the city is hoping to use the Drury University visioning process as a springboard to a professionally developed master plan to help guide the city in the development of the seven parks around the city.
Carthage's park system includes Municipal Park and the golf course; Kellogg Lake Park; Central Park; Carter Park; Griggs Park, and the Fair Acres Sports Complex. It also includes the undeveloped Freer Park at Centennial Avenue and Buena Vista Street; the entrance to the Ruby Jack walking and biking trail on Old Route 66 Boulevard just west of the golf course, and the Walnut Bottoms area along the Spring River north of town.
The city has plans to develop a biking trail in the Walnut Bottoms area.
Follow up public meetings are planned for October.
The goal for the students and committee will be to prepare a visioning document with plans and conceptual drawings of the most popular and common ideas for presentation to the Carthage City Council in December.