Trick or Treat for Our Parks
Calling all those who enjoy trick or treating and care about the future of the Manchester community! On Saturday, October 24th from 9:00-11:00 AM the Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation will be hosting Trick or Treat for Our Parks, an event taking place across town at four separate locations. Center Memorial Park, Charter Oak Park, and Northwest Park will host the event and be open to the public. There will also be a special location at Squire Village reserved for residents.
This special community engagement event will offer all interested community members and families the chance to dress up for Halloween, pick up some treats, and win prizes, all while contributing to the development of the new Parks & Facilities Master Plan.
When attendees first arrive, children will receive goodie bags and all parents or adults will be given $10,000 in fake money. They will then be guided through a one-way path lined with interactive kiosks. After learning information about the different sectors available for further development, participants can then decide where they would like to invest the money. The different kiosks include:
- Parks: Upgrades to playgrounds, pavilions, athletic fields and hard surface courts
- Trails and bikeways: Hiking and biking trails and greenways with completed connections
- Outdoor Swimming Pools: upgrades to existing pools and new spraypads
- Maintenance: Hire additional staff to support and maintain clean and safe parks, trails and facilities
- Recreation Centers: renovate existing facilities (Community Y Rec Center, Mahoney Rec Center)
- Community Center: build a new multi-service center to include Recreation, Senior and Human Services etc.
After completing the walk-through, participants will then receive a mystery activity bag and are eligible to be entered into a raffle to win one of the following prizes: a bike, an athletic package, a creative arts package, a games package, and Manchester-Gear Swag.
This event is much more than meets the eye. While it offers a festive opportunity to grab some goodies and dress up for Halloween, it also provides community members a chance to give input on local green spaces and facilities. “This is a call to all families, trick or treaters, and those that care about the future of our parks, community and recreation centers,” said Chris Silver, Director of Leisure, Family and Recreation.
“This event was planned for the purpose of collecting community input. We were looking for a COVID-19 safe way to gather information from the public about their wants and desires for the future of parks and facilities in Manchester. The safest way to gather right now is outdoors so the staff created some activities for children, and the consultants worked with the staff to create ways residents could provide input in an interactive way,” said Elsa Fischer, a Senior Consultant at BerryDunn, the consulting firm collaborating with the Town of Manchester on the creation of the new Master Plan.
The interactive kiosk component of the event will allow participants to convey to local officials what facilities and spaces are important to them, providing essential data on community needs. This information will then be used by Town officials in collaboration with BerryDunn. “The information collected will be combined with the feedback from 20 focus groups and key leader meetings conducted. An engagement summary will then be written that will inform the rest of the Master Planning process,” said Fischer.
This event is also an opportunity for the Town to gain an intergenerational perspective, given that families made up of all ages will be attending. While walking from kiosk to kiosk, parents are encouraged to involve their children in the decision-making process to discuss which facilities and spaces are important to them. This can act as an important teaching moment, demonstrating to children the importance of improving local green spaces and facilities to serve all of the community.
For many reasons, this is not an event you want to miss. Not only will there be sweet treats and fun activities, but community members will have the chance to shape the future of the Town. “The Parks and Facilities Master Plan will create a roadmap for Manchester for the next 15 years and beyond. It’s important for all community members to weigh in so that their needs and desires are taken into account during the planning process,” said Fischer.
In order to keep staff and attendees as safe as possible, the event will follow CDC guidelines. Participants are encouraged to wear their masks, keep a safe social distance, and stay home if feeling sick. “I’m so looking forward to having the community come together for a safe event where they can provide meaningful input on the future of our town’s parks and facilities,” said Kathy McGuire, Senior Recreation Supervisor. If you are looking for a fun, fall-festive activity, this event is the perfect excuse to get out of the house, have fun, and shape the future of your community!
For those who would like to further contribute or who cannot attend this event, you can continue to provide input to the Town and stay involved through our online engagement platform Your Voice Matters.
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