Editor's Desk - September 2014
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Survey Says…

One of the best ways to find out what your community members and facility users want most is to ask. Whether you issue a community-wide survey or invite people in to be part of a discussion group to go over all their wants and needs, you can't assume that you know what's most important to your constituents. Finding out—and making changes in accordance with their desires—is part and parcel of a well-run facility.

A couple of weeks ago, I was happy to find myself on the receiving end of a district-wide e-mail asking park district users to evaluate existing facilities and provide input on potential future projects. The survey was well crafted, and I actually enjoyed going through to fill out my answers and think about the different kinds of projects I would support through tax dollars—or not.

In addition to kicking off several daydreams about what we could have in my relatively small town of less than 20,000 (an aquatic center? Count me in!), the survey also got me thinking about all the great amenities we already have.

Despite the small size of my community, we have a fantastic recreation center with a wide range of classes, as well as a fitness center. The park district also plays host to an annual 5k and puts on a Fourth of July festival to rival anything I've experienced elsewhere.

I consider myself pretty lucky to live in a place where parks get the kind of support needed to offer so much. And I often wonder if people in other places—where parks don't get this kind of support—realize what they're missing.

So tell me, what kind of community support does your facility get? And how do you build support when you want to expand your facilities and offerings? Do you talk to your members and constituents to find out what they'd like to see you offer next?


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management