Cayuga County wants the public to help create the blueprints for Emerson Park's future.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, members of the Cayuga County Planning Department will host the first in a series of participation meetings at the Emerson Park Pavilion to seek input from the public on what changes they would like to see made to the Owasco park.
Steve Lynch, director of the planning department, said the decision to seek public input came after the county's Parks & Trails Commission asked his department to update Emerson Park's existing master plan.
Finished in 2001, the plan plotted out a course for the park's re-development.
Parts of the plan, including improvements to the historic pavilion and the park's seawall, were implemented. But many portions — including a proposed water park, ice skating trail and hotel — received no action.
The plan even had a design theme: "Victorian elegance, natural beauty."
In the plan's revisions, Lynch said his department hopes to create a more feasible, fluid plan — one with a publicly driven philosophy that will be utilized as a guide when deciding what Emerson Park should be used for.
"We're really trying to do a plan that can be implemented," he said. "The goal is this broader thing."
To create an implementable plan, the county needs the public's help.
During Wednesday's participation meeting, Lynch said the planning department wants to hear suggestions and questions from the public. All recommendations — ranging from activities that could be added to existing services that could be amended — are welcome.
Without that public input, Nick Colas, of the planning department, said the county will have trouble creating a park that best suits the needs of the public it serves.
"Everyone agrees there are opportunities there," he said. "We need to figure out which ones to pursue."
Lynch agreed — adding that Emerson Park's future was the community's to guide.
"It's an open book, really," he said. "There may be some major plot lines here, but the rest of the story remains."