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Park update tabled until February

POSTED: December 21, 2011 4:00 a.m.

A proposal to update the county's parks and recreation master plan has been tabled until February.

Dawson County commissioners on Thursday said postponing discussion would give park staff enough time to determine a concise list of needed improvements and additions.

Earlier this month, a parks consultant presented a proposal to update the local five-year plan.

Proposed improvements ranged from more soccer fields, playgrounds and pavilions to a new recreation center, community center and "sprayground" water feature.

The plan also recommended the county acquire land for new parks, as well as update existing ones.

County commissioners didn't disagree with the amenities, but had concerns about how to pay for them in the sluggish economy.

"For me, I'd like to see a one-page priority list of the basic changes, additions you'd like to do in some sort of ranking over the next couple years," Commissioner Gary Pichon told consultant Bob Betz.

The current plan for parks and recreation was adopted in 2005 and is outdated, according to Betz.

He said the plan presented was based on industry standards, public input and the county's projected population of 23,947 by 2016.

The net five-year program cost would be $5.6 million, with $27.5 million to be completed post 2016.

Betz said proposed funding sources for the projects included revenue from an anticipated extension of the 1-cent sales tax, a possible bond referendum and/or dedicating 1 mill in property tax for recreation capital improvements.

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