This Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan presents ways to further enhance the quality of life of Palmer Township residents. This Plan has two major objectives: to preserve an open space and conservation character in areas of the Township and to provide excellent recreational opportunities within the township to Palmer residents.
This Plan lays out the steps that are needed to develop the "active" recreational facilities, such as athletic fields and tennis courts, and more "passive" areas, such as greenways and woods, needed to serve our present and future residents. Also, additional types of recreational programs are suggested for consideration by township recreational groups of the Township.
Ways of preserving the natural character of areas of the Township are also recommended. In addition, methods to preserve environmentally sensitive lands, especially lands along the waterways and steep slopes are also suggested. The township administration is responsible for providing adequate maintenance, security and safety within the Township's lands, and to keep the public well-informed.
The Township officials have an important role to carry out this Plan. Cooperation will be essential between residents, community organizations, local businesses, the Easton Area School District and the Township. Through these efforts, Palmer Township will continue to be an even better place to live, work and play.
Important background information has been collected and mapped to provide a foundation for the policies and recommendations of this Plan, including:
• Maps showing existing environmentally sensitive flood-prone areas, recharge park lands, schools, areas, steep slopes, areas and forests.
• A detailed inventory of all public and school district recreational facilities and lands.
• An analysis trends of the future population and housing trends of Palmer Township that relate to recreation.
• Reviews of recreation comments made in the township's 2003 survey of all Township residents.
Most of these materials have been incorporated into the body of this report, while others are found in the appendix.
PROCESS OF DEVELOPING THIS PLAN
This plan was developed and evolved during a set of workshops with a committee consisting of members of the Recreation Board, Planning Commission, Environmental Steering Committee and other key Township officials. The plan was then returned to the respective board, commission and committee for their comments. Then, public comment was invited at a combined major public meeting. Finally, the Plan was recommended by the Township Recreation Board, Planning Commission and Environmental Steering Committee for adoption by the Township Board of Supervisors.
PURPOSES OF THIS PLAN
This plan will help to accomplish the following major purposes:
• Provide direction for development of recreation programs within the township, provide direction for acquisition of land and development of facilities, especially in deciding how new developments should be required to meet the Township's requirements for recreation land and/or fees-in-lieu of land;
• Provide guidance and recommendations on methods of preserving and conserving important open spaces; and,
• Fulfill the requirements of the PA Municipalities Planning Code, which requires an officially adopted "Recreation Plan" before a municipality can require developers to dedicate recreation land and/or fees-in-lieu of land.
THE GOALS OF THIS PLAN
As part of this planning program, the following major goals were established to provide the overall guidance and direction for the plan.
RECREATION PROGRAMS GOALS
• Improve the township's excellent youth athletic programs, while seeking expanded programs for other age groups and the handicapped.
RECREATION FACILITIES GOALS
• Provide adequate opportunities for both active and passive recreation, with adequate distribution throughout the township.
• Plan for major community parks emphasizing active, programmed recreation and several well-distributed smaller neighborhood parks emphasizing more informal recreation.
• Maximize use of existing indoor and outdoor public school facilities and the Charles Chrin Community Center of the Township.
• Plan development patterns and road improvements that promote bicycle and pedestrian circulation.
GOALS TO PUT THIS PLAN INTO ACTION
• Cooperation neighboring and good communications with municipalities, the Athletic Association, other recreation groups, the Easton Area School District and the Bushkill Stream Conservancy to carry out this plan.
• Carry out this plan through continuous program of citizen involvement, planning and action.
OPEN SPACE/CONSERVATION GOALS
• Use creative means of preserving wooded areas and land along the waterways and steep slope areas, including clustering of homes, conservation easements and maintenance by homeowner associations.
• Locate and design recreational areas to make them safe and secure against crime and vandalism, and include native plants and ''no mow" zones to reduce maintenance.
• Ensure that all development respects the natural features of the land, especially the waterways, wetlands, flood-prone areas, wooded areas and steep sloped lands.
• Preserve lands that are physically unsuited for development in public, homeowner association or private open space. This especially includes areas along the Lehigh River, the Bushkill Creek and the Schoeneck creek.