The La Raza Park Community Workshop was canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the project has now been moved to a virtual platform. City of Montrose Community Engagement Specialist Bethany Maher said the community’s input will now be collected through email surveys and social media.

The poll asks participants to rate the importance of three park improvement projects: an update to the baseball diamond with an added backstop, lighting and benches, an update to the horseshoe pit with added benches, lighting and maintenance, and an update to the basketball court with improved concrete and hoops as well as added benches and lighting.

“We have identified these three projects as quick-action projects that came out of the Photovoice project, your feedback and the amount of grant funding for this particular grant,” stated the poll, which is currently live on the City of Montrose website. “We want to hear your feedback so we can keep improving our community and apply for grants that fund the wants and needs of our citizens.”

The poll also asks participants what other ideas they have for park improvements and why the park is important to them.

“We’re really hoping to reactivate the park and make it a park that reflects the needs of the community,” Maher said. “We're looking at creative ways we can honor those needs in that park. ...We know that there’s a need for increased lighting around the park in general, so with each project, we considered solar lighting and seating.”

Maher said that while there are plans to hear and address other desired improvements to the area, such as walking paths and sidewalks, this survey is aimed specifically at the application for the AARP Community Challenge grant.

“It’s for quick action projects, projects that are shovel-ready,” Maher said. “I worked with Public Works to go through the Photovoice ideas and narrow them down based on what Public Works could offer and how much the grant typically funds to identify what community needs have been asked for.”

The application deadline was originally set for April 1, but amid COVID-19 concerns, the timeline for the La Raza Park improvement project is still to be determined based on the grant’s new application deadline.

Until then, Maher encourages the community to spread the word about the survey to increase participation. For those without access to the Internet or social media, voting via text options are being considered. Maher encourages anyone with questions to reach out to her at bmaher@cityofmontrose.org.

“We want as many votes on it as possible so that we’re truly choosing a project the community wants to prioritize,” Maher said. “We wish we could’ve had it in person, and we’d like to get as much feedback, if not more, than what we would’ve gotten in person. We’re looking forward to ongoing engagement in the future.”

The La Raza Park improvement survey can be found at https://www.cityofmontrose.org/568/Innovation-Citizen-Engagement.

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