Crystal parks master plan updates presented at April 19 council work session

A sketch of the proposed updates and additions at North Lions Park. (Submitted photo)

Crystal Parks and Recreation Director John Elholm presented an update to the parks master plan at an April 19 city council work session, after analyzing responses from residents at a March 14 open house about what they’d like to see incorporated into the plans.

“We looked at the types of amenities currently offered, we looked at public comments, at national standards and what a city our size should have, and we found we’re a little heavier on baseball and softball fields than we need to be, and don’t have as many soccer fields as we maybe should, for instance,” Elholm said. “We looked at how to make the parks more usable for the city.”

With 244 acres of parkland and 27 parks in the city, the organization of parks will help city planners determine what amenities and facilities would best suit each park.

Elholm said the parks were grouped into four proposed categories: neighborhood parks, which typically have limited or no parking lot and are within a 10-minute walk for residents, and have minimal developments; community parks, which function mostly as sports and recreational centers, including parking space for sporting events and multiple full-sized, lit fields; destination parks, which function as a centralized community gathering spot with specialized facilities, accessibility from multiple forms of transportation, space for public performances, a large lawn, an aquatic center, and splash pads; and passive parks, which are either barely or undeveloped, and feature trails, boardwalks, green space, wildlife viewing, nature restoration and conservancy, community gardens, and educational opportunities.

These categorizations will influence where planned additions and attractions should be placed among the parks. For instance, the plan recommends facilities that would be used by people from outside of the surrounding neighborhoods should be placed in community parks.

Elholm said community demands will also be met wherever possible. Discussion on the parks plan will continue, and a more solidified plan is expected to be developed over the next few months.

Contact Laci Gagliano at

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