Defining a mission for parks in Hudson

What defines a park in Hudson, and what roles does it play? 

The voters in Hudson have been very supportive of their parks.  They use the parks extensively, and have traditionally passed park  levies. In 2004, voters approved funding through Issue 3 which dedicates a portion of the income tax to park operations.

As the Park Board takes a leading role in advocating for trails throughout Hudson, most of which are in public rights of way and not parks, it may be a good time to reexamine the roles of parks and what defines a park. The perception of residents and the City’s definition of what is a park and how it’s used may differ.

Which of these properties in Hudson are considered “park land?”

Hudson parks.jpg

Answer: None.

Though they are all in Hudson, and public property, none of them are funded through the taxes voters passed to support  our parks. They are:

  • A.)The ponds and trail behind Barlow Community Center. It functions primarily as a watershed control area.  (Photo credit: A. Kelemen)
  • B.)Ellsworth Meadows Golf Course. (Photo credit: City of Hudson) (Some funds used towards acquisition and debt retirement, not considered a “park”)
  • C.)The Gazebo Green. (Photo credit: City of Hudson)
  • D.)South Green extension on Ravenna St. (Photo credit: City of Hudson)

As just one example, this setup requires three or more sets of lawn maintenance, personnel, and equipment.  Is this the best use of taxpayer dollars?  On our agenda for 2-16 is a purchase of three mowers for the parks at cost of over $37,000. I mention this because the costs are considerable. Could more efficient use of our dollars result in more being spent on features residents want and need?

I was concerned when the Parks mission statement was shared with Council in 2013. I thought then that its role was too narrowly defined, and the goal of “acquiring more parkland” was an outdated concept based on the areas acquired in the past 20 years.   After a recent Strategic Planning retreat, other Council members asked if I would take a crack at drafting a mission statement.  My version, along with the current one and how it compares to the recently passed Comprehensive Plan, are below.

2015 Hudson Comprehensive Plan Comparison.jpg

What do you think? Should we be looking a little broader at the role of our parks? Should we consider how a property functions and not just what our typical definitions have been?

The Park Board and City Council will meet jointly on March 21 to discuss.  Public input is also important. Contact me if you’d like to add your voice.  330.208.2627.