Whether it’s regarding the potential for a new community park or just to give overall feedback on the park and recreation system in town, residents here are being asked for their opinions.
Town officials are conducting an extensive survey to determine what people want to see over the next five years.
Brownsburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Phil Parnin says community input is essential. About 1,500 surveys will be sent to random homes over the next three weeks.
“What we’re doing is the parks and recreation services are updating the master plan, and it’s important that the master plan have a residential component to it,” said Parnin, who will use both the surveys and focus groups to get a pulse on what the community wants.
“It’s a statistically valid way to get valuable information for establishing priorities into the future,” he said. “The way we look at it here, we’re the only department in town that the public can spend disposable income with. If we’re not engaging our customers, I think we’d be missing the boat on improving.”
The survey sent to a random sampling of people will be used as part of the study, but residents who don’t receive it in the mail can still share ideas through an online survey. Online votes, however, will not be a part of the study process because Parnin says there’s no way to assure that those are statistically valid entries.
The BPRD is using an outside company to choose the destinations of the survey. He said the department will not know who was selected and income level is not a factor in who is selected. It is done completely at random.
“We weren’t selecting individuals that use our services that we know are pleased with our services,” he said. “It’s done at random and done in a way that we should get a true representation of how the community feels as a whole, not just the individuals that we know appreciate our services.”
Some of the questions are financial, asking residents how they feel operation of new endeavors should be funded and how much each individual homeowner would be willing to pay on a monthly basis.
The survey also concedes that an additional tax increase would be needed to fund the construction of an indoor recreation center and asks homeowners their thoughts about the potential monthly tax impact.
Parnin says the town needs a set percentage of them to be returned for the survey to be statistically valid, and those who get the survey but do not respond will get a postcard reminder within the following week, asking them to complete it.
The department is also beginning the process of developing another community park. The proposal calls for it to be 15 acres along Hornaday Road, just south of Cardinal Elementary School.
“We’re looking at starting and completing it within the next five years,” Parnin said. “Funding is what’s going to have to be identified, as well as staff skills and talent to what aspects can we do in house to assist us in saving costs. There will be challenges that are identified, drainage being one of those. The goal is when we identify these priorities, we’ll assign a date to it to accomplish as much as possible within the time frame.”
Parnin noted that they’ve accomplished 71 percent of the action items in the department’s previous master plan, that ran from 2008 to the present. The department sent out a survey in 2010 and he said they got a good response from that.
“We have found from our surveys that (residents) believe our parks are maintained well,” he said. “We still have the ability to improve, especially in those high visibility areas, is something we took away from our survey in 2010. We have been able to make those improvements for the better, along entrances to the park, as well as established what we call maintenance standards. That’s really helped us put a little more focus on some areas that are visible to the public. It’s nice to reassess the public’s view.”
Questions about the survey may be directed to the BPRD at www.brownsburg.org.