Dublin City Council has started its review of the draft parks and recreation master plan. The nearly 200-page document was presented to council at its Oct. 20 meeting.

Dublin City Council has started its review of the draft parks and recreation master plan. The nearly 200-page document was presented to council at its Oct. 20 meeting.

Council has yet to determine how it will review the document. Council could review it during a regularly scheduled meeting or hold a work session, said Fred Hahn, director of parks and open spaces.

"We've had a lot of public input on this plan," he said. "We want to make sure council is comfortable with the content."

No timeline has been set for approving the plan, but Hahn anticipates it will be done within the next few months.

The plan puts into writing policies and practices the city's parks and recreation departments have already been following, with some changes.

The plan is designed as a guiding document that offers broad strategic goals for the future of the city's parks and recreation departments, Hahn said.

For the parks department, the change that will be most noticeable to residents will be how the city treats the land around ponds and stream beds.

Typically, the city has mowed grass right to the water's edge. The new master plan calls for a more natural environment allowing the grass to grow in 15- to 20-foot buffers along the streams.

"This could intercept some of the pollutants and cut down on erosion," Hahn said.

While it will save money, that wasn't the reason for the change, Hahn added.

"Some members of the public may initially view it as unkempt, but we hope they will be happy once they understand the why of it," he said. "There's sound rationale behind this change."

Hahn said the change should be environmentally friendly and also help reduce the geese population.

Chapter 10 in the plan addresses community art.

"One of the reasons we call it community art is because we wanted to make sure people realize there are more opportunity for public art outside the city and the Dublin Arts Council," Hahn said. "Community art can be incorporated on the front lawn and you can appreciate it walking down the sidewalk or driving down the road. We want to find mechanisms to encourage that."

Changes to the city's recreation services and policies are outlined in the plan, but will be implemented over time based on the growth of the city, said Matt Earman, director of recreation services.

"Over the years, the city of Dublin recreation services has been reactionary, meaning we're all things to all people," he said. "This will change the strategic approach on how we develop programs."

Earman does not predict any major changes in the next year or two, but in three to five years changes will be necessary.

"This is a guideline or roadmap for how we get ourselves down the road in the future and in the future we see growth," Earman said.

Drafting the plan started in 2006 in conjunction with the city's 2008 community plan. While the city did hire consultant Kinzelman Kline Grossman Studios for $88,000, Hahn said a significant amount of money was saved by writing most of the plan internally.

"For example, nature education coordinator Mimi Migliore wrote sections pertaining to wildlife," Hahn said. "City staff in GIS, planning, recreation and parks all contributed."

The city's community relations department polished the document and edited it for style and grammar. The consultants wrote the demographic and analysis portion.

"(For) some of the analysis of the existing systems, we wanted independent eyes and opinions brought in," Hahn said.

The plan will be available on www.dublin.oh.us in the near future.