On Sept. 20, Darien’s Parks & Recreation Commission will hear draft recommendations for the Master Park Plan and host a hearing for the public to respond. Consultants for the master plan have spent about six months reviewing Darien’s twelve parks and beaches to determine the existing conditions, requested amenities and potential improvements at each location.

The Master Parks Plan is intended to give a 10-year overview of the town’s intended parks initiatives and provide a clear path for development and other upgrades. Darien’s last Master Parks Plan was completed in 1996 and while that document provides some foundation for the new plan, the town has also acquired several new properties such as the Weed Beach expansion and a 16.25 acre parcel of land from the Ox Ridge Hunt Club.

More than 2,500 Darien households participated in a survey for the Master Parks Plan which helped narrow down what local residents want from the town’s parks. About 70 percent of respondents felt the town should try to acquire more land and preserve open space in the next five to 10 years. Sixty percent felt that the town should improve Pear Tree Point Beach Park in the near future and 58 percent felt the town should add a swimming pool or other aquatic facilities.

The Parks & Recreation Commission has been briefed throughout the consultant review process with several public hearings for survey results and preliminary findings. At the start of the planning process Parks & Recreation Director Pamela Geary and Commissioner Mary Flynn also met with numerous local stakeholders connected to the town’s parks to discuss their expectations and desires for the Master Parks Plan.

With next week’s meeting the commission is nearing the end of the planning process. A second public hearing on the draft recommendations will be held on October 4 and the commission expects to present a finalized plan on October 18. The vote on the plan will be held on November 15. The Parks & Recreation is still seeking feedback from interested parties during the upcoming public hearings. Findings from the survey results are available via the Parks & Recreation webpage at darienct.gov/parkrec; check the left sidebar to find the Master Parks Plan link.