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Survey results show Parks and Rec how to communicate with public

More than 600 surveys were completed.

jamestown parks patron resting 051622.jpg
A woman rests a bit, Monday, May 17, 2022, while lying in the grass and feeling the warmth of the sun at McElroy Park in Jamestown. Results from a Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department survey showed the top attributes the community associates with the department being enjoyable, affordable and fun. The survey results also showed more than 73% of respondents felt the department's restrooms in the parks need to be renovated, which the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department is working on.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – Goals from the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department survey include learning what facilities community members are using, programs they participate in and how to communicate with the public, according to Executive Director Amy Walters.

“That was a goal to look at driving our future programming, plan for facility renovations, improvements, additional amenities, those types of things,” she said.

More than 600 surveys were completed. Walters said that number is a good representation of the community and the surrounding area of who is using Jamestown Parks and Recreation facilities and participating in its programs.

“We were pleased with the participation for sure,” she said.

Survey participants ranged from 18 years of age to 75 and older. A majority of the participants, or 78%, live within Jamestown city limits while 15% live within 10 miles of Jamestown.

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Mindi Schmitz, chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, said she was pleased that community members thought the parks were in good shape and impressed with how much they use the parks.

“I was really pleased with how many people responded,” she said. “We as commissioners will take those comments and hopefully build on that with the strategic plan.”

Walters said the department wanted to learn how it needs to communicate with the public, whether it was through social media, its website, through email or other traditional methods such as through the newspaper or radio. She said the department is working with its marketing consultant, Joy Paczkowski, founder of BluePrint Creative Solutions, who is helping Jamestown Parks and Recreation plan and execute how to communicate with the public.

“So really looking at a comprehensive marketing plan so that we can find that broadest reach within our community,” she said.

Survey results showed about 71% of respondents prefer to be reached by website or social media, about 47% through email, 38% through flyers in the mail, over 39% through school flyers and newsletters, 30% through radio and 29% through the newspaper.

About 50% of survey respondents have heard of the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department through social media while 45% heard of the department through friends or family. About 41% of survey respondents were not aware of the department’s facilities of programs.

Walters said the department will continue to reach out to the community through surveys, focus groups and community meetings as well.

Enjoyable, affordable and fun are the top attributes the community associates with the department with 67.7%, 59.4% and 54%, respectively. A majority of survey respondents thought the quality of the department’s programs are consistently good or consistently high quality with 43.6% and 14.1%, respectively, compared to 39.4% of respondents rating the quality varies with programs.

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Walters said the department is in the process of advertising and hiring a staff person who will have specific responsibilities for its programs and special events. She said the new staff person will look to expand the programs the department offers and make sure the programs it offers are consistently high quality.

“That will include everything from youth and adult sport leagues to camps and activities at Hillcrest Golf Course, Two Rivers Activity Center and the Winter Sports Building (Eagles and John L. Wilson Arena),” she said. “We will really look to add additional programs. Right now the programs that we currently offer to youth and adult sport leagues will fall under that individual.”

Walters said one of the more significant findings from the survey was that over 73% of respondents felt that the department’s restrooms in the parks need to be renovated and were very concerned or somewhat concerned with the restrooms not having running water and using vault-style toilets with hand sanitizer.

“That is something we are working on and will begin to happen this summer,” she said. “That restroom project will focus on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility.”

In September, the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission approved a bid of more than $325,000 to renovate Parks and Recreation restroom facilities.

The base bid from Hillerud Construction Inc. for the renovations is more than $254,000 with more than $70,000 added to provide labor and materials to replace all restroom doors, frames and hardware at each location not including The Bunker.

Renovations include relocating sinks and mirrors, replacing doors and adding sanitary wall panels where needed.

The renovations will be paid with funds coming from the city of Jamestown with the remaining balance coming from the Parks and Recreation budget.

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The Jamestown City Council granted $200,000 to Jamestown Parks and Recreation in March 2021 to modify restroom facilities in the parks to meet American with Disabilities Act compliance.

Walters said the survey results also impacted the department's rebranding efforts.

“We kind of used it as an opportunity to both rebrand, revisit our mission statement and we created a set of organizational values and then we kind of rolled it to the community with the results of the survey,” she said.

Schmitz said it is good for the department to have a different look. She said the new logo refreshes the Jamestown Parks and Recreation’s look and lets everyone know that the department is moving forward.

To see the full survey results, visit https://bit.ly/3Mm8LQU.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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