DARIEN — For the first time since 1996, the Darien Parks and Recreation will develop a master plan for its parks and services, and they are looking for input from residents.

“It’s well overdue,” said Parks Department Director Pamela Gery. “It’s extremely critical to have public input on all of our parks.”

The Park Master Plan will be developed based on the results of a focus group on March 14, with three 45-minute sessions scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. These meetings are for anyone in the community, but space is limited and interested residents should call 203-656-7325 to reserve a space.

The Parks Department, with the help of Weston and Sampson, a multi-disciplinary design firm, and Greenplay, LLC., a park, and recreation consulting firm, is looking for responses on how the 10 parks, two beaches and various town-owned properties, such as the recently acquired 16-acre parcel formerly owned by Ox Ridge Hunt Club, can better serve the community.

After the town mulled an extension of Weed Beach by acquiring a 4-acre parcel of adjacent land in 2015, Gery said many questions arose in town, not adequately answered by the 1996 plan, as to whether there were other parcels the town had its eye on.

More Information

2017 Master Park Plan Information

The Parks & Recreation Commission had a kick off meeting on February 22nd with the hired consultants Weston & Sampson and GreenPlay LLC. A power point presentation gave an overlook of what the upcoming months will consist of and how the Master Park Plan will develop. Here is what will be happening in March and April 2017.

Tuesday March 14th:

1. Scheduled stakeholder meetings held with consultants 9 - 3 p.m.

2. *Focus Group Meetings 5 - 5:45 p.m./6 - 6:45 p.m./7 - 7:45 p.m. *These meetings are for anyone in the community that would like to share their opinions and input towards the parks, facilities and programs - space is limited - please call 656-7325 to reserve a space.

Wednesday March 15th:

1. Scheduled stakeholder meetings held with consultants 9 - 5 p.m.

2. Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting 7:30 p.m. Town Hall Room 119

April 2017

1. Early April - Random Sample Survey to be sent out to approx. 3,000 households

2. Mid April - Town-wide Open Link Survey open to all of Darien households - hard copies can be found at the Park & Recreation Office, Town Hall Selectman's Office, Senior Center and Darien Public Library

3. Wednesday April 19th Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting 7:30 p.m. Town Hall Room 119

Needed in the focus groups are residents, partner agency and organization representatives, business community representatives, and users of Parks and Recreation facilities and services. Over an eight to ten-month period, the consultants will analyze the date from the focus group and subsequent surveys — one of which is planned for April — to develop the best path forward. The master plan should be completed by late fall or early-winter.

Among the questions that will be weighed by the contractors, is whether or not a swimming pool is feasible on any town-owned lands. Gery said it is important residents know that the possibility has not been ruled out.