Consultants outline GN Park District study findings

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Austin Hochstetler, a senior project manager with PROS Consulting, outlines the firm's findings about the Great Neck Park District. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Austin Hochstetler, a senior project manager with PROS Consulting, outlines the firm's findings about the Great Neck Park District. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

As part of a new master plan, the Great Neck Park District should prioritize items like walking and biking trails, indoor facilities and reinstituting a farmer’s market, a report from PROS Consulting suggested.

The Indiana-based firm focused on parks and recreation consulting was hired by the park district to help create the new plan last fall for about $80,000.

Great Neck Park District Superintendent Jason Marra introduces representatives from PROS Consulting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Great Neck Park District Superintendent Jason Marra introduces representatives from PROS Consulting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The firm’s preliminary recommendations, presented at Great Neck North High School to an audience of around 100 people, were based off a statistically valid survey of 400 people and nearly 600 responses online.

It also conducted a series of interviews with focus groups and stakeholders, held public meetings, and sought to compare similar districts around the country.

“We have a district that’s already great,” Great Neck Park District Superintendent Jason Marra said. “We want to make it greater.”

Austin Hochstetler, a senior project manager with PROS Consulting, said the survey results suggested a strong interest in prioritizing walking and biking trails, fitness programs, indoor facilities offering track, swimming and exercise opportunities, and bringing back the farmer’s market.

Also of interest were increasing commuter parking, instituting more programming geared toward adults and a continued focus on good maintenance.

Leon Younger, the founder and president of PROS Consulting, said in terms of facilities, the park district should focus on creating indoor recreational space and trails and pathways, while working to enhance the Great Neck House, athletic fields, tennis center and marinas.

Leon Younger of PROS Consulting outlined a series of preliminary recommendations for the Great Neck Park District as it moves toward creating a master plan. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Leon Younger of PROS Consulting outlined a series of preliminary recommendations for the Great Neck Park District as it moves toward creating a master plan. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Site master plans should also be created for Kings Point Park, Allenwood Park and Steppingstone Park, he said, and the park district should “activate the Village Green” in the Village of Great Neck for festivals, the farmer’s market, and special events.

Also important would be creating more consistent design and maintenance standards, facility capital replacement schedules, and improving lighting and responsiveness to ADA – or Americans with Disabilities Act – standards, he said.

In addition, Younger said the district should consider the creation of two new positions focusing on human relations and supervision of recreational programs.

In terms of finances, he said the district should push for the re-establishment of a foundation supporting the park district, maintaining its current bond capacity, and finding other funding resources.

Hochstetler said the next step is finalizing a series of plans for the park district, including an action plan, capital plan, and a funding and revenue strategy.

“We want you as part of this process as we wrap up,” Hochstetler said.

The full presentation, as well as the technical reports and data behind it, will be available online at https://www.gnparksmasterplan.org/.

This marks the first time in more than a decade that the Great Neck Park District has embarked on creating a master plan. The forging of the last master plan in 2005 involved public hearings, a community survey, and led to greater support for items like Parkwood Pool, additional programs and summer concerts.

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