At the Sept. 22 Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee
meeting, staff from Pros Consulting, SFS Architecture, ETC Institute, and
consultants from Confluence presented findings from a statistically valid
survey; proposals for a preliminary program plan; and an analysis of site
configurations. When combined, this information will make up a majority of the
Facilities Master Plan, slated to go before City Council in December. If
Council adopts the Master Plan, work will begin to develop an Implementation Plan,
which would include financing options and other considerations.
Right now, we’re still in the process of trying to determine
what Merriam residents want for their Parks & Rec facilities, and recent
survey results help to provide a greater understanding. We’ll look at some key
findings in this post, but you
are welcome to read the full report in the “Master Plan Documents” section of the
A Statistically Valid Survey
The survey required 400 respondents to be considered statistically valid. We had 522
people complete and return the survey, ensuring a 95 percent confidence level
with a /-4.3 percent margin of error — anything under 5 percent is considered
Survey respondents represented an equal distribution of ages, length of Merriam
residency, and gender (male/female). In addition, information related to race
identification was consistent with current census data. The number of
participants that voted in elections during the past two years was 85 percent.
The cross-tabulated data was broken down into four categories: households with
children under 10; households with children ages 10–19; households 20–54 with
no children; and households 55 and older with no children.
Top Choices for Amenities
When asked which three items would be most important to include in the design
of a new or redesigned aquatic center, respondents in each age group chose
either the zero depth entry pool or lazy river. The next choices were
mixed. Water slides was the third choice for households with children, but households without children want an outdoor pool with lap lanes. The fourth
choice was a mix of spray pad, outdoor pool lap lanes, water slides and diving
boards. An interesting fact from this question is that in all households with
children, as well as those 20 – 54 without children, 87 percent indicated that
at least one of the amenities should be included at the pool. This shows strong
support for an aquatic center.
A similar question was asked in regards to a community center. All households chose an indoor jogging walking track as their first
choice. The second choice for households with children 10 -19, and both
categories of households without children was cardiovascular/fitness equipment,
whereas those in households with children under age 10 selected the indoor
leisure pool for their second choice.
A clear shift in priorities is evident further down the
list. As with the aquatic center, the percentage of households selecting at
least one item was extremely high, while households age 55 and older with no
children were the lowest at 77 percent.
The last finding we’ll highlight pertains to support for different financing
options. Two household categories chose a combination of a local sales tax
increase, and an increase for local property taxes as a first choice. One
household category chose a local sales tax increase, and one household category
did not know or was not sure what they wanted. The second choice revealed the opposite result:
two household categories chose the local sales tax increase; one household
category selected the combination of sales tax and property tax; and the fourth
household category didn’t choose either.
Consultants from ETC Institute provided the following summary of results:
- There’s strong support new aquatic features.
- Aquatic features rated as most desired are: a lazy river and
zero depth entry.
- Residents want indoor recreation facilities and amenities.
- Top three priorities are: indoor track, fitness equipment,
and indoor leisure pool.
- Compared to other priorities, development of improve
indoor facilities was rated as the most important amenity.
- 43 percent of respondents in all household categories
indicated they would use an aquatic facility with the amenities most important
to them on a weekly basis.
- 51 percent of respondents in all household categories indicated
they would use a community center with the amenities most important to them on a
Contact Parks and Recreation Director Anna Slocum with questions. And
check this blog each week for more project updates.
View a presentation of the survey results
Read the full report of survey findings