(City of Akron) On Monday, Mayor Horrigan has released the findings of the Community Needs Survey which collected community sentiment and preferences related to the Akron Recreation Bureau. The survey was conducted between July 28 and September 19, 2018 and reached 1,500 households representing more than 3,100 people. The survey will form the basis of strategic changes in the Recreation Bureau that will include an enhanced focus on aquatics, community events and effective communication.
The survey is part of a comprehensive strategic planning process for the Recreation Bureau, announced by Mayor Horrigan during his 2018 State of the City address. This is the first time the City of Akron has taken a comprehensive look at Recreation services since the 1969 report commissioned by then-Mayor John Ballard in response to civil unrest.
“The 1969 report validated a universal truth, which remains true today: providing adequate public space and recreation is and will continue to be an essential service in the City of Akron,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “The results of this new community needs assessment revealed that our community centers and pools continue to be important drivers of connection, safety, and quality of life in our neighborhoods. We will be focusing our capital investments and programming on those services the community values most, including aquatics and community events.”
A summary of the survey results is available here. Key findings include:
- The more aware residents were of programming and services, the more likely they were to view the Akron Recreation Bureau as highly valuable.
- The Bureau was generally perceived as affordable, fun, and safe.
- Aquatics (pools and splash pads) are important neighborhood anchors.
- Different demographic groups and neighborhoods experience the Recreation Bureau differently.
- More effective communication – including increased use of social media – could improve the use of facilities and programs and increase satisfaction among users.
“This assessment reveals that we are doing very well serving the residents who already utilize our centers and programs,” Recreation Bureau Manager Brittany Schmoekel said. “Our goal is to use this data to reach a wider segment of the community and better communicate with our existing users about programs, events, and ways to engage with our centers.”
The Bureau will launch a rebranding campaign, including a new mission and vision statements, later this year. New or improved programming and offerings will begin this year based on the community feedback related to each of the individual community centers.
“I thank Mayor Horrigan and the Recreation staff for reaching out to our residents to assess what they need and want from their City Recreation Bureau,” Council President Margo Sommerville added. “I am thrilled to see that we will be making investments in our pools, new splash pads, and more community events that will improve quality of life and foster community pride. As the ward representative for Perkins pool, I look forward to working with the City administration to create something truly special for the neighborhood.”