City of Gary Parks & Recreation System Master Plan

Welcome, Gary residents!

Gary, Indiana offers residents many unique recreation opportunities. To ensure that recreation opportunities are readily available and attractive to residents, the Gary Parks & Recreation Department and its future will be guided by a new Park and Recreation System Master Plan.

The quality of the new Master Plan depends on community engagement and input from many different people. To ensure that residents drive the plan development, the Master Plan process will include a variety of ways community members can become involved in and inform decision-making. The Master Plan process began in December 2022 and will conclude in July 2023.

Your input is vital to the success of the Master Plan! This website can be used to learn about upcoming community engagement opportunities, find ways to comment on the overall process, and stay current on the Master Plan process.

About the Master Plan

Purpose of the Master Plan

The complexity of park planning requires a thoughtful, rational, and participative process. Gary Parks & Recreation System Master Plan will be a long-range plan that provides for future community needs while maintaining wise use of public funds and fulfilling legal mandates. The success of the Master Plan depends on the efforts of many individuals working together to meet the needs of the entire community. The Gary Parks & Recreation System Master Plan’s overriding purpose is to identify the needs of the community and address them with actions that create inclusive, cost-effective, and publicly supported park and recreation areas. By using a balanced approach, Gary will continue to develop and maintain its strong parks, open spaces, and recreation areas.

Why should we have a Master Plan?

1. It is a guide for the development of a park and recreation system within a community.

2. It is a tool for rational decision-making.

3. It allows for inclusive public engagement in the future of community parks and recreation.

4. It is the first step toward accurate capital finance planning.

5. It facilitates coordination and cooperation within the park department and with other entities.

6. It is essential for the public health, welfare, and safety of the community.

7. It can be required to receive certain types of public or private funding for parks development.

Gary's vision for this Master Plan will positively contribute to the community's quality of life. It will enhance:

Community Building: Parks are one of the most effective ways to build a sense of community and improve quality of life. Parks channel positive community participation by facilitating group interaction to achieve a shared vision.

Economic Development: Parks improve real property values, draw tourists, attract workers to live and work in the community, and persuade retirees to stay in the area. Investing in parks revitalizes neighborhoods and town centers and attracts private investors and businesses. Parks and trails are not only enjoyed by residents but also encourage visitors to extend their stay and contribute to the local tourism markets.

Environmental Stewardship: Natural resource areas are vital to the preservation and conservation of valuable resources. A sustainable approach to resource management allows continued recreation opportunities for residents while protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

News & Updates

Master Planning Process kicks off

The Gary Parks & Recreation Department is working with the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University to develop a new System Master Plan. The Plan will set priorities and provide guidance for the city’s parks and recreation system for the next 5 years. The process kicked off in December with organizational meetings and will continue with a robust public engagement period to collect feedback from city residents about their needs and desires for parks and recreation. Public input will be received through a survey, focus group interviews, and an open comment period. Please take some time to give us your feedback.

Public Comment

You are invited to provide feedback for the Gary Parks & Recreation System Master Plan. Your input is invaluable to ensure the parks and recreation system meets the need of all City residents. Please submit your feedback through the form at the bottom of this page. We want to hear your thoughts and responses to make sure the System Master Plan addresses and accurately represents Gary’s parks and recreation needs.

COVID-19 Status Update

We are monitoring the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus and complying with CDC and governmental guidance pertaining to this pandemic. As such, the project timeline may be adjusted in order to ensure robust community participation in the planning process while prioritizing the health and safety of the community.

Project Timeline

December 2022
Project Kickoff
February-March 2023
Public Engagement
May-June 2023
Draft Plan released
May-June 2023
Public Comment on Draft Plan
July 2023
Final Plan Delivery

Draft Plan

The public comment period for the master plan draft ended on Friday, July 14, 2023.

Further public comments or suggests should be forwarded to:

Gary Public Parks Department
Prensis McClain (Board Secretary/Administrative Assistant)
(219) 886-7099