BY SUE GRANGES
LTE by Robin Gurule about the county’s tendency to plan expensive projects for small interest groups while existing facilities lack maintenance, I wondered: shouldn’t we be asking our residents to voice their concerns and priorities for Community Services Department (CSD) projects? Wouldn’t it be better to gather information on this before hiring consultants and spending millions of dollars on shiny new developments? How about a poll or something…
WAIT! We have this data! CSD hired a consultant to survey the community and produced “a statistically valid survey to establish community needs, satisfaction levels and prioritize actionable items” this year only! (The results of the survey can be viewed here under “Integrated Community Services Master Plan”.) The “top five priorities for facilities and amenities” identified from the survey are additional trails/trails, maps and signage, shelters additional picnic and shade, better maintenance of existing parks and recreation facilities, and upgrades. at CampMay. Other community wishes are also listed and categorized. An expanded golf driving range? Not on the list. Tennis complex? Bottom of the list. ATV Skill Park? MIA. Tellingly, the consultants highlighted this response to the survey: “I wish the county would listen better when the community responds to surveys or questions.”
So we know what residents want. We don’t have an unlimited budget to keep paying consultants to design multi-million dollar projects to serve small user groups. CSD and the county path are pretty clearly defined by this survey. How about we fully address the identified priorities of our community and, if we have money left over, consider new facilities (economic, social equity, opportunity and environmental costs permitting) )?