Sunday, September 03, 2000

Survey: Increase parkland

Respondents urge more trails, water playgrounds

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Most of the more than 2,000 people responding to a survey think the Hamilton County Park District is doing a good job in preserving natural resources and providing recreation, and want to see parkland grow larger.

        “We're going to compile all this information together and use it to help us plan for the future,” said Jim Rahtz, communications director for the park district.

        Park district officials were pleased with the number of responses. The 14-question survey was available at all district parks and also included in a Sunday Enquirer in June. The survey was on the back of a postage-paid response form.

        Responses are still trickling in.

        “The people who did respond are very interested in preserving and protecting natural resources,” said Mr. Rahtz. “They also appear to think we are doing a very good job.”

        Those who responded also overwhelmingly favor the park district acquiring more land. The park district, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is made up of 16 parks and 13,000 acres.

        More than 71 percent of those who answered the survey rated acquisition of more parkland as a very important mission of the park district, and another 24 percent rat ed it as somewhat important, for a total of 95 percent.

        The only questions that elicited a more overwhelming positive response were those dealing with how well people thought the park district was managed and whether the community receives good value for its tax dollars. Those questions received a favorable response of 99 percent.

        Joy Landry, communications specialist with the park district, said the district received a lot of comments about the additions of water playgrounds to Miami Whitewater Forest in Crosby Township and to Winton Woods in Springfield Township.

        “People really enjoy the "wet' playgrounds,” said Ms. Landry. “Some people specifically requested that we do something at Woodland Mound.”

        She said the park district already has plans under way for a water playground at that park in Anderson Township.

        Mr. Rahtz said many people commented about adding more trails, both paved and unpaved.

        “We're certainly going to look at providing more trails in the future,” he said.

        This was the first time the park district has solicited public response other than the scientific random surveys conducted by the University of Cincinnati Institute of Policy Research.


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