(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, October 5, 2023, Mayor Rilling was joined by local leaders and City officials to celebrate the newly adopted Recreation and Parks Master Plan and unveil two of the seven themes on the Mayor's relaunched Dashboard.
"Over the past year, the City of Norwalk incorporated the community's vast feedback into our Recreation and Parks Master Plan through an extensive public process," said Mayor Rilling. "We are very pleased with what the newly adopted Master Plan has to offer residents. This plan will enhance residents' quality of life by expanding recreation and programming opportunities to benefit the community's physical, social and emotional health. Whether it's through the new indoor community recreation center in South Norwalk, increasing outdoor recreation amenities by adding new pickleball courts and year-round tennis programs, expanding our dog parks or enhancing access to recreational water activities, this Master Plan emphasizes equity and increases livability for all Norwalk residents."
On September 26, the Common Council voted to adopt the 10-Year Master Plan. Over the past year, the City's Recreation and Parks Department oversaw an equitable process that invited feedback from all Norwalk residents, asking them to help shape the new Master Plan. Through online surveys, random sample surveys mailed to over 6,000 residents, focus groups, day-long workshops with City staff and key stakeholders, evening workshops with the community, and several public meetings, the City incorporated the community's vast input into the Master Plan.
The new Recreation and Parks Master Plan provides a guide for planning the City's capital and operating budget spending to help meet the demands of Norwalk residents' recreational and leisure needs by continuing to enhance the operations and maintenance of the City's parks, open spaces, and community facilities. It aims to increase the community's quality of life by preserving and protecting the City's natural resources and offers expanded recreation and programming opportunities to benefit residents.
The City of Norwalk also unveiled the relaunch of the Mayor's Dashboard by showcasing the first two of its seven themes, "Enhancing Parks and Green Spaces" and "An Environmentally Sustainable City." At the onset of the pandemic, data updates regarding COVID-19 reports took priority over the Mayor's Dashboard. This gave the City the opportunity to relaunch the Mayor's Dashboard with a fresh and updated outlook and a new breakdown of expanded data for residents. The metrics on the Dashboard serve as an accountability tool for the public. They also help inform the Mayor on which programs and services are successful, which need improvement and the shifts in public participation and demand for various programs and services.
“We chose the categories Enhancing Parks and Green Spaces and An Environmentally Sustainable City because the City of Norwalk is focused on encouraging community involvement at our parks and green spaces and building sustainable infrastructure that reduces CO2 emissions and helps address the threats to climate change," said Mayor Rilling. "We are committed to enhancing our parks and green spaces by making improvements and love seeing our residents participate in summer camps, kayak rack rental opportunities, field use permits, and more. When it comes to maintaining an environmentally sustainable city, we are using resource-efficient, well-maintained, cost-effective, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure. We understand the importance of water conservation and management best practices, as well as waste reduction and management and have increased our efforts to recycle and help residents utilize more composting stations. While there's much more to do to protect our environment, I'm proud of the smart investments the City of Norwalk is making to protect our natural resources and community."
You can view the City's “Enhancing Parks and Green Spaces” and “An Environmentally Sustainable City” Dashboard data by visiting https://www.norwalkct.gov/dashboard. The remaining five dashboard categories will be shared later this month.