As part of its Vision 2020 comprehensive and strategic planning process, a community survey was administered last fall by the Elmhurst Park District to obtain feedback and help plan for future park and recreational opportunities. A total of 328 Elmhurst residents completed the survey, which provides a statistically significant overview for the community as a whole. In addition to the statistically-valid survey, the survey was available for the general public on the Vision 2020 project website. These responses were collected independently from the statistically-valid survey, and those results from over 360 respondents will be also utilized as part of the Vision 2020 process.
The results gathered from the scientific, statistically-valid survey were overall positive for the Park District, with 88% of households having visited a park within the past 12 months, compared to the national average of 81%. Not surprisingly, the three most visited parks were Wilder Park, the Illinois Prairie Path and Berens Park. 97% of respondents described the condition of the parks as being good or excellent. Many parks also saw repeated use by respondents, with 45% indicating they visit the parks weekly during the year.
Regarding program participation, 45% of households responded that they had participated in a recreation program offered by the District within the past 12 months. This number compares positively with the national average of 34%. Of those who participated, 86% rated the program as being good or excellent.
According to respondents, the most important benefits they receive from the Park District included improving physical health and fitness, improving the quality of life in the Elmhurst community and providing healthy recreational opportunities.
When looking toward the future, the top amenities determined to be of the highest priority included indoor fitness, walking and biking trails, an indoor running and walking track, and an off-leash dog park. Respondents were also asked to determine their households’ priorities for programming needs and responses showed an interest in adult programming with focus on adult fitness and wellness programs, community events and adult continuing education.
Respondents were also asked a series of questions regarding actions the Park District could take and how willing they would be to support those actions with tax dollars. The majority of respondents were somewhat or very supportive.
The District will use this data as it moves forward with its comprehensive and strategic planning process. A draft of the plan will be presented to the Board of Park Commissioners in late spring.