Marysville Mayor Chris Sch-menk's initiative for a comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan overview has officially begun.

Marysville Mayor Chris Sch-menk's initiative for a comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan overview has officially begun.

During her second State of the City address, one of the issues Schmenk called attention to was her desire for improvements to the city's Parks and Recreation system.

Director of Administration Jillian Froment said work on the planning process is under way.

"One of the things that is very important to our mayor is the parks system and connectivity to that system," Froment said. "We want citizens to be able to get to parks and also to take advantage of walking paths or biking routes."

Froment said the intention is to enhance existing parks and recreation facilities.

"We realize we have what we think is a great parks system and our staff does a great job," Froment said. "But we also think there are things we need to do in the future that we aren't doing now. We want to make sure that we have a plan to get there."

Froment said that planning should extend beyond the parks and recreation department to the planning commission and the development process, where decisions are made about new developments, if they will have parks and how those parks would connect to the rest of the city.

"We think that we need a tool that guides all of these processes to make sure that we are unified in our approach to the park system," she said. "But to get that tool, we have to have a vision, so we're working with a small advisory group and their role is to provide oversight to staff as we go forward over the next 10 months working on this project."

That advisory group is made up of citizens, city staff, city council representatives and parks and recreation commission members.

Froment said the city has also contracted with Marysville resident Dianne Coon to provide project management services, conduct research, make presentations and assist in the drafting of the final plan. Coon has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Ohio State University and a master's degree is business administration from Ashland University.

"Her professional experience includes writing business plans, conducting market surveys, updating technical manuals and project managing large, multi-functional projects," Froment said.

Coon will be paid $7,500 for her services over the 10-month period.

Froment said that within the next year the city will be conducting community forums and a citizen survey and working to identify any existing gaps in the system that need to be filled.

"We're working with the Marysville Schools," she said. "We're working with the YMCA. We will be working with all of our stakeholders such as the Master Gardeners and sports organizations that use those parks to really come up with a united community vision of what we need out of our park system. From there we will put together a short-term plan to try to implement some of that vision and the costs associated with that. Then, we will have an idea of where we need to go in the next five years."