A survey done to help Grand Junction develop its Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan shows strong support for a community center, but that the community has questions on how to fund it.
Pat O’Toole with Greenplay LLC, the consultant helping the city with the plan, presented the findings of a statistically significant survey to the City Council on Wednesday. Parks and Recreation Director Ken Sherbenou said the perspective of the community is important as they develop the plan.
“My big line is, this is the community’s master plan. It really is driven by community input and feedback,” Sherbenou said. “The best way to capture that and represent that is in this survey.”
Around 6,000 surveys were mailed out to the community with around 1,000 returning the surveys. The city also put out an online version of the survey that anyone could fill out and got around 1,500 responses there.
A community center that included indoor recreation, community spaces and aquatic facilities was identified at the most desired new Parks and Recreation facility with 63% of respondents saying it is one of the top things they would like to see. Around 60% identified Lincoln Park as the best location for a community center.
A majority of the survey respondents said they would need more information before they would support an increase in sales tax of less than the 0.39% proposed in the 2019 community center ballot initiative. However, 42% said they would support a sales tax increase of less than 0.39%.
The survey did find strong community support for other forms of funding, including 80% support for using medical and recreational marijuana sales taxes, 79% for using grants and fundraising and 71% for a tax on tobacco.
Other than the community center, expanded trails for biking and walking was the next most popular new feature that respondents supported. Improvements to river access and river conservation was also highly supported as was a warm water leisure pool.
When asked what the top three improvements were needed for existing facilities, improvements to the city’s trail network was the most selected, followed by more shade structures and restoration of natural areas and open space. For programing, respondents want more youth programs, special events and improving access to programs.
On Nov. 30 a draft plan will be presented to the City Council at its work session. That plan will include recommendations for what to prioritize moving forward. The City Council will hear the final plan presentation on Dec. 14.
“The next time we’re here is where the rubber kind of meets the road and here is how we, as an internal and external group, take that information and we try to match it up with resources that make sense,” O’Toole said.