Survey: Batavia Residents Want Recreation Facility
Pierce, Gala M., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Gala M. Pierce Daily Herald Staff Writer
Batavia Park District officials now know where the community stands.
A majority of residents want the district to pursue acquiring Mooseheart property, more land for open spaces as well as the development of a recreational facility with indoor aquatics, a weight room and fitness area, a recent survey says.
After sending out more than 4,000 surveys last December in a random sampling to households, a team of consultants assessed the 1,000-some 17-page questionnaires that were returned.
The St. Louis-based Counsilman/Hunsaker and Associates Inc., which conducted focus groups last November, created surveys with Nick DiGrino of Western Illinois University's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration.
The surveys helped convey the pulse of the community while giving the staff a nod to move forward with some plans, district executive director Mike Clark said.
The questionnaires indicated that while 57 percent favored the development of a recreation center for all ages, only 38 percent said they would support a tax increase for it.
"That's very typical," Clark said. "They identify it as a need, but they may not be willing to support it financially to make it happen."
About 23 percent of residents marked undecided in regards to whether or not they would support a tax increase.
"I probably would think if it's facilities that they would use, you can turn a lot of those undecided votes to yes," Clark said.
About 78 percent thought the district should pursue acquiring Mooseheart property with the school district to create future facilities, parks and athletic fields.
The park and school districts have created a steering committee to negotiate for some of the Mooseheart land, Clark said. No meetings have been set.
"We could keep infrastructure costs down by sharing parking and property," Clark said. "You can end up with an expanded high school site to meet educational needs as well as the community's needs (in a joint deal)."
The district and staff received high marks across the board on customer service.
Clark anticipates as Batavia's population increases, more will feel dissatisfied with what the community offers. …