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Parks and rec asks for community input on future plans

The Idaho Falls community packed a meeting room Tuesday night to talk about what they want to see in the future from the city’s parks and recreation department.

“We want more ice,” said Idaho Falls resident Linda Carterbeck. “We need more ice in the park. Plus a hockey team.”

“I would really like to continue to see our open green spaces for more opportunities for just general recreation,” said Jeff Shadley, another Idaho Falls resident. “And I’d also like to see an enhancement of our biking and running path capabilities within the city.”

“I would love to see the maintenance and the upkeep of the current facilities that we have,” said Idaho Falls resident Jenell Lester. “And, you know, possibly resurfacing our tennis courts. Another sheet of ice at the ice rink. Maintain what we have before we start adding new things.”

Tonight was the kickoff of RECreate Idaho Falls: A way to plan for the future of the city. Parks and Rec says some of the challenges they currently face are aging infrastructure, less active lifestyles and funding. They hope this community master plan will help solve some of those issues as the city grows.

“With growing comes some growing pains,” said Greg Weitzel, director of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation. “So, you know, our recreation center is 80 years old, our aquatic center is 32 years old, our current ice arena is packed from four in the morning to one in the morning every day. So we’ve outgrown some of these facilities.”

The new plan will take about six to eight months to put together. It will be based on what the community wants.

“The community needs to drive this plan,” Weitzel said. “You know, we can come up with as many plans as we want, but if the community’s not behind it, it won’t be successful. This has gotta be from the bottom up. The community telling us what they want, but then they can get behind financially as well as politically.”

Those who missed Tuesday night’s meeting, but still want to give input can visit the website for the park plan. Interested parties can also download the app called HappiFeet to share what they would like to see in the community.

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