Which Gearhart parks do you frequent most?

What is the most common activity you participate in during your visits to Gearhart’s parks and trails?

Are there any issues, deficiencies or concerns with any of Gearhart’s existing parks or trails?

These are among questions Gearhart residents are asked to deliver their thoughts on for the future of city parks. The city’s Parks Master Plan Citizens Advisory Committee sent out online and paper surveys to determine how improvements could better address the community’s needs and desires.

The committee, which first convened in July, aims to look at the “planning horizon” for the next 20 years, with recognition that land use decisions can have consequences beyond that.

George Van Hoomissen serves as the committee’s chairman, with five members and participation from Mayor Paulina Cockrum and City Planner Carol Connell.

The plan seeks to avoid duplicating other city documents like the comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance or Gearhart Transportation System Plan.

So far, respondents listed the Ridge Path and Lesley Miller Dunes Meadow Park as the most frequently visited parks, committee member Austin Tomlinson said at last Wednesday’s committee meeting. “That’s something we should start thinking about in the master plan.”

Respondents seek a community center, restrooms, community gardens, more trash cans and more indoor space, among other features.

Favorite activities included walking, dog-walking, sports and wildlife viewing.

Big things that have stood out, Tomlinson said, include calls for more trash receptacles, better park maintenance and opposition to beach driving.

“It seems there are a number of people who don’t like the beach driving around 10th Street,” Tomlinson said.

Eighty-two percent of respondents favored more spending on existing parks and 67% were in favor of more spending on future parks.

The survey is limited to Gearhart residents, with a March 1 deadline.

The committee will continue to meet the third Wednesday of the month through June via Zoom. The next meeting is Feb. 17.

The committee plans to seek approval of the draft parks master plan in March before referral to the Planning Commission.

“What we’re trying to collect here is qualitative information that adds more voices to the discussion,” Van Hoomissen said. “We’re more trying to get a sense of community views, and I think the survey is working really well to accomplish that. We’re getting a lot of really good input. I view it as a work-in-progress and look forward to more coming.”

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