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Yountville's first-ever Parks and Recreation Master Plan

The Yountville Town Council on Tuesday approved its first-ever Parks and Recreation Master Plan, crafted mostly in-house and with input from community members.

Word cloud generated at the Yountville Community Center after community members were asked: "What have we missed? In terms of improving providing park and recreation programs, services, and facilities communication, what do we need to do more of? (Retrieved from Community Outreach for Town of Yountville Parks and Recreation Master Plan).

The Yountville Town Council on Tuesday approved its first-ever Parks and Recreation Master Plan, crafted mostly in-house and with input from community members.

The plan outlines 16 suggestions for new programs and facilities in Yountville, providing broad timeframes for the completion or execution of each proposal.

Proposals for a dog park, access to a water play area, and veterans’ programming were among the recommendations with the highest emphasis.

To diversify the range of recreational activities for all age groups, the plan, said Parks and Recreation Director Samantha Holland, prioritizes a “holistic approach” by creating three categories of focus: Parks and facilities; programs, events, and services; and policies.

“The history and the forward-thinking included in the plan makes it a home run,” said Councilmember Robin McKee-Cant. “I think the plan accounts for programming that’s vital for our community, and further I believe with our focus, we can add vibrancy to our business community as well.”

Approval of the plan came after two years of development by Town Staff with the guidance of a consultant who made recommendations that reflected public feedback.

Surveys and public forums aimed at uncovering the gaps in Yountville’s overall Parks and Recreation ecosystem served as the foundation for the Master Plan.

“The plan remains very adaptable to what is going on in the current needs of our community...we will continue to evaluate new ideas and initiatives even if it is not in the plan document,” said Holland.

Yountville currently has 15 acres of parks and open space, three playgrounds, almost four miles of paths and trails, and town programs serving over 50,000 people annually.

The completion of the Master Plan is considered “ongoing,” meaning each of the 16 recommendations will be deemed “complete” depending on costs, staffing, and land availability in the Town.

Development of a dog exercise park, Holland said, is something that a lot of survey respondents and other residents indicated is a high priority. Determining a site in the past has been difficult and controversial, so staff has been exploring short-term options, such as allowing off-leash hours in certain parks.

The timeframe for dog park development in the master plan is “Medium Term/Long Term.” Councilmember Hillery Trippe asked staff to consider moving the timeline to “Near Term” given the popularity of the idea.

“I won’t get into why I think that it’s really a nice community amenity not just for the dogs but it can really have a nice social aspect for people,” said Trippe, noting that about 30% of survey respondents said they wanted a dog park.

Holland said Yountville doesn’t have any “underused” spaces, but staff has been brainstorming on how to better use existing space.

“I included information on the dog park history (in the master plan) just because it’s come up twice now in my term here and not moved forward,” Holland said. “But I think there’s a reason it keeps coming up, right? So, we need to figure out how to try and meet that need with our current resources or potentially resources that come forward in the future.”

Another top recommendation from community members was continued access to a swimming pool. However, the possibility of “water play areas” arose during the meeting as an alternative to the development of a public swimming pool and all the associated labor and maintenance costs.

Here are some of the other recommendations in the Master Plan:

Adding mile markers on trails and paths

Increasing shade structures in picnic, park, and facility areas

Creating a “Comprehensive Park and Trails Map”

Investing in additional Plaza improvements in Yountville Community Center

Access to a fitness facility/gym in the Town

Increasing youth and family programming

Developing programming aimed at serving a more diverse audience

Expanding veteran home resident-geared events Designing programming for working adults held after work hours.

To read the plan, go to the Town of Yountville home page, hover over the “Departments” link at the top of the page and look for “Parks and Recreation Master Planning” under the Parks and Recreation Department.