Prepared by Management Learning Laboratories, the questionnaire was commissioned by the village's recreation department earlier this year to better identify the recreation needs of the entire community - not just a specific user group - and to help the department "stay in tune with the current and future needs of the community."
Every address in Garden City received a questionnaire in the mail; 973 responses were received, according to the final report.
The survey was broken down into sections:
- The first section was designed to elicit respondent interest in various recreation categories like "indoor fitness"
- The next section dealt with the level of use of parks and attendance at the recreation facilities/programs
- The following section solicited personal opinions about, for example, the department's effectiveness of marketing and publicity efforts and the overall quality of life in Garden City
- The next section asked respondents to indicate the level of importance of needs that residents indicated at various meetings leading up to the survey
- The final section sought general demographic information of respondents, including age and length of residence in Garden City
A sample of the findings: Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported they have an interest in indoor and outdoor fitness activities. Further, more than half the respondents (54 to 57 percent) showed an interest in active recreation including aquatics, water-based recreation and sports and athletics while 58 percent felt that “athletic courts” should be an area of emphasis.
Village parks were the most widely visited facilities in Garden City, according to the report, and nearly 62 percent of respondents indicated an interest in one- or two-day events, festivals, shows and fairs.
Direct email (79 percent of respondents) and direct mailers to the home (78 percent) were the preferred method of communication residents felt would be most effective in keeping them apprised of parks and recreation programs. Fifty-one percent of respondents said village kiosks, found all over Garden City's business districts, were the least effective method of communication.
After an analysis of survey findings, the report makes several recommendations the department should consider, including (but not limited to):
- Emphasize maintenance of its facilities along with the development of a centralized facility
- Consider offering more fitness-related activities and facilities and work towards providing programs and activities that would be attractive to all members of a family
- Actively seek external grants and endowments for funding recreation and continue to offer the free tax-supported services and facilities
- Continue to explore the best time for activities and participation to maximize community involvement