Ridgefield, Washington’s original Comprehensive Plan evaluated a need for improved park and recreation access, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. In 2014, the city took a substantial step toward park acquisition and development by publishing the Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan. This document sets out a 6-year plan for providing community-driven parks, trails, open spaces and recreational opportunities. The plan includes an evaluative process for current park systems, criteria for where new parks should be created, and way to update existing park infrastructure. The prospective goal is to create a series of parkways and greenspaces connected by a system of trails throughout the city. Creating an interconnected park system maximizes park accessibility, an important solution for underserved communities where there is limited land available for recreational repurposing. The park has proposed 13 miles of new trails, many of which are planned to run along the City’s creeks to connect residents to nature and wildlife.
The foundation of the park plan is a service standard based on population density. There are five categories of service, each with their own population metric. These service categories include Community Parks, Neighborhood Parks, Greenways, Trails, and Specialized Facilities. Community Parks, for example, have a service standard of 6 acres per every 1,000 people. Trails require a service standard of .75 miles per every 1,000 people. City planners have focused their attention on providing recreational spaces to areas of the community with a disproportionately small amount of park land. The Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan also takes into account future park needs by estimating regional population increases throughout the city. These estimates provide a prudent and reliable system of anticipating future land use and capital investment. Based on these estimates, Ridgefield has begun setting side currently available land for future park use.