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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Dream big, parks consultant challenges Pasco officials

— After two days of nitty-gritty work that goes into building a parks master plan, consultants asked Pasco commissioners and staff last week to dream out loud, and dream big.

“If you had unlimited funds, what would be on your wish list?” asked David Barth, a planner for AECOM.

Out came the ideas: a public marina, a natatorium — or indoor swimming pool, an MLB spring-training facility, an equestrian center and a BMX track.

“The other thing I would be interested in is an outdoor amphitheater,” Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said. “Like the one they have in Seaside — it’s awesome. They have movies, they have plays, there’s all kinds of activities.” She also suggested more campsites and cabins, and a restroom where the Starkey Trail intersects the Suncoast Trail.

Barth told her that wasn’t unrealistic. “Some of the things you’re discussing are very modest,” he said. “These are things you could be working on now,” he said.

Commissioner Henry Wilson said he still gets requests for a gun range. He’d also like an artificial reef to appeal to snorkelers and scuba divers.

Parks Director Rick Buckman said residents have also asked for more dog parks, splash parks, swimming pools, performing arts venues and seniors’ activities.

The master plan, due back in November, will incorporate items from the dream list, along with the basic plans for neighborhood parks, ballfields, recreation centers and trails. “I’d hate for you to say we’re only going to pursue the vision we can afford in 2014,” Barth said.

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