city hall

Belgrade residents have until tomorrow to answer the latest survey about what they would like to see in the city’s Growth Policy update and Parks and Recreation Master Plan, documents that will direct growth and development for years to come.

Planning Director Jason Karp said the survey is the high-tech way that citizens can comment on the plan drafts that have been prepared by consultants and available for citizen review during the month of May. Those who wanted to comment in person attended a public open house at the library on May 21.

Karp said the 20-25 people who attended that meeting had a lot of positive things to say about the drafts of the plans prepared by CTA of Livingston. As at the first open house, overwhelming interest was expressed in the creation of a parks district for the city and in the development of more trails, he said

Belgrade does not have a designated parks district, so park improvements currently have to be financed from the city’s general fund, Karp said. If a parks district were created, it would have its own budget funded through a voter-approved levy, as well as an appointed board of directors overseeing expenditures.

“It could be as large or small as we wanted, but it would provide a stable source of funding,” Karp said. “We would have to decide on a boundary for the district, whether that would follow the boundaries of the school district or something else.”

Karp said that the open house held this month was likely the last, but citizen input will continue to be heard at meetings before the Planning Board and City Council in the months to come. Karp anticipates that the final plans will be adopted next winter.

Karp thanked the community for paying attention to the process and for providing so many ideas. He said the consultants working on the plans have commented repeatedly about the amount of feedback provided by Belgrade citizens, which has been far more than they are used to hearing on similar projects.