Trick or Treat for OurParks Prompts Large Community Turnout

The Parks and Facilities Master Plan project kicked into high gear this weekend as hundreds of Manchester residents participated in a community engagement special event, Trick or Treat for OurParks. This event was held at four locations in town; Center Memorial Park, Charter Oak Park, Northwest Park and Squire Village. Attendance surprised us all, as residents of all ages came out to share their thoughts and opinions on what they believe Manchester needs most.

Children in costumes received goodie bags of candy and a surprise “M” bag filled with crafts and treats.  Adults had fun playing with fake money, sticking stickers on maps and sharing thoughts with staff and consultants.  Everyone received a raffle ticket to place into contention for several raffle prizes, the top prize being a new BIKE!

Those attending the event were given $10,000 (of fake money) and were asked to spend their dollars on what they felt the Town needed most. 

The need categories were:

  • Parks – upgrades to 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 poos and new spray pads
  • Maintenance- hire additional staff to support and maintain clean and safe parks, trails and facilities
  • Recreation Centers- renovate existing facilities
  • Community Center- build a new multi-service center.

Participation in this event exceeded expectation.  The results of the “money experiment” are below. Topping the list was outdoor pool upgrades with parks upgrades and maintenance rounding out the top three in dollars spent.  This input will be used by the consultants as they put together the Master Plan.

Additionally, participants used stickers to highlight on a map the Parks and Facilities that they frequent most. This was a fun activity and really highlighted how much Town residents love and utilize outdoor parks, trails and passive spaces. The results revealed that Charter Oak Park and Center Springs were top among event participants.

Participants could also enter into a raffle drawing for several prizes, including a bike.  Many of the kiddos in attendance were excited at the prospect of new bike.  Raffle winners were contacted on Monday and here are the winners:

Bonnie Livingston – Bicycle/Farr’s gift card
Aaron – M Gear
Wendy Garlitz – Creative Arts Pack
Asheley Pacheco – Game Pack
Dennis DeBatte – Sports Pack

The Master Plan project is just beginning and public input is vital to the success of this project.  We encourage all Manchester residents to share their opinions, offer feedback and let you voice be heard.  To follow the progress of the plan and receive updates on the project, join Your Voice Matters at  

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