Anchorage Parks and Recreation

Park Planning FAQ'S

Why do we p​lan parks?

Like Anchorage's population, the community's parks and recreation needs are growing. Park Master Plans provide the public a way to help determine the best uses of a site and help Parks & Recreation Department staff optimize management of the park's resources. Park planners use public input combined with analyses of current trends and future needs identified in the Park Plan to create a blueprint for use of a park site over the next 10 to 20 years.

What is a Master Plan?

A Park Master Plan is a general guide for appropriate park uses and their approximate location within a specific park site. The plan serves as a long-range vision for future development and programming of the park and its resources. The timeframe on a Master Plan is typically 10 to 20 years. The plan is conceptual in nature and not intended to address detailed issues related to engineered site design or park operations. Typical items addressed in a Park Master Plan include planning park elements, natural and cultural resources, and general design concerns.

What is the park planning process?

Public input is critical to the success of the improvements made in a park as any things happen before a new park or park amenity can be open to the public. The planning process is dependent on whether the project is a new park or an upgrade to existing park amenities.​​

 For new parks, the Park Development Process includes:

  • Needs assessment
  • Land acquision
  • Park planning
  • Public use approval
  • Funding
  • Detailed design
  • Construction
  • Park opening

For existing parks and park amenities, the park planning process includes:

  • Conduct site analysis
  • Public info session
  • Develop design alternatives
  • Public planning workshop
  • Develop draft master plan
  • Public hearing
  • Draft master plan r​efinements

When does a park get constructed?

Park development does not always closely follow the adoption of a park master plan. The Parks & Recreation Department must acquire funding for final design and construction. Funding sources include voter-approved park bonds, State Legislative requests, private contributions to the Anchorage Park Foundation, and/or cooperative agreements with local user groups. Once funding is secured, Park Planning staff uses the Park Master plan and the funding budget to determine the scope of the project, prepair detailed site design drawings, and construct park improvements. Engineering and construction are generally contracted through the Project Management & Engineering Department. Upon receiving site permitting and inspection approval, the park or new facility opens to the public.