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Low survey return results in planning of second study for Turlock facilities
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The Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission received results Wednesday from the Sports and Recreation Facilities Prioritization and Feasibility Study that was conducted in order to assess the opinions regarding the need and support for recreation facilities in Turlock.


In April, The Sports Management Group presented to the PARC a list of facility priorities, or needs for certain facilities within the city. The consultant team, Lauren Livingston and Julie Spier of SMG, inventoried sports and recreation facilities within the city, taking suggestions for program needs from the community to match prioritized facilities with those that are in demand.


“The priorities are certainly going to be predicated on the characteristics of this community, what’s available in this community and what you prioritize,” said Livingston in April. “We’re also looking at what facilities you have currently and what you’re going to need long term.”


Facilities that were recommended for Turlock by the consultant team included an aquatic center, indoor gathering centers, outdoor gathering centers and a multi-generational space. Based off of these recommended needs, SMG consulted with the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department to develop an online community survey which would assess the opinions regarding the need and support for those specific recreation facilities in Turlock.


SMG used to conduct the online survey, and to increase community input, multiple respondents could participate from a single computer and could skip any question they did not want to answer. The city’s IT department sent the survey link to over 17,000 people in the parks department’s database and also posted the link onto the city’s website.


Unfortunately, only 346 people participated in the survey, or two percent of the 17,000 that the survey was sent to. According to park’s department Superintendent Erik Schulze, a five percent return is needed to certify the survey. The survey link was open from May 23 to June 3, a busy time for many in the Valley. Schulze credited the low survey return to the many graduations and beginning-of-summer activities that most are busy with this time of year.


“When school starts back up, the survey will reopen,” said Schulze.


He also stated that the hope for the next study is at least a 15 percent survey return, and though the survey must be conducted again, the PARC is treating the first study’s results as a preliminary example of what to expect.


Of the 22 potential facilities listed in the survey, over half of the participants supported the need for an indoor aquatic center (77 percent), interconnected paths for walking, biking and hiking (66 percent), indoor space for basketball, volleyball, fitness and other physical activities (64 percent), a teen-youth center (64 percent), an amphitheater (60 percent), a community center with activity rooms and a kitchen for rentals (59 percent), an outdoor aquatic center (58 percent), outdoor volleyball courts (52 percent), an outdoor all-weather track (51 percent) and a golf course (51 percent).


Over half of the respondents indicated that there were enough soccer fields (73 percent), dog parks (65 percent), baseball and softball fields (53 percent) and outdoor basketball courts (51 percent) in Turlock.


Over two-thirds of respondents recommended that the city consider projects that provide multiple uses

for various activities (68 percent) and development of new facilities that currently do not exist in Turlock opposed to adding more of the same (67 percent).


Over half of the respondents also recommended that the city consider projects that serve a multitude of

needs (59 percent), projects that can generate revenue to help pay for their operating costs (57 percent), and projects that become a regional draw and bring economic benefit to the city (54 percent).


Interconnected paths for walking, biking and hiking were the potential projects favored most by respondents, with 81 percent strongly or mildly favoring their development. 77 percent also strongly or mildly favored a teen-youth center being built in Turlock.


The survey will be conducted once more at the end of the summer, said Schulze, with the intent to exceed the five percent return necessary to certify the study.