Feature Article - January 2007
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By Jessica Royer Ocken

A Master Plan Pays Off

The Dallas park district, a sprawling organization with no way to manage a community assessment on its own, contracted Fort Worth consulting firm Carter & Burgess to conduct a community assessment (to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars).

In addition to evaluating the condition of every park district facility, they conducted an assortment of interviews and meetings with key players in the various communities served by Dallas Parks and Recreation. They met with mayors and city councils, community and business leaders, and held neighborhood gatherings.

"They also did a 20,000-person residential survey to see what people thought about the parks, what they wanted, what they were concerned about," said Carolyn Bray, assistant director for Dallas Parks and Recreation, East Region.

Using this information, the park district developed a new vision and mission statement to further guide their efforts.

And, they prepared and passed the largest bond issue in their history-$100 million-in 2003, which will go a long way toward meeting their goals.