Survey shows residents are happy with city parks
The Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Master Plan Survey was presented to the community Wednesday, Aug. 2 and the overall message was pretty clear: Wilsonville residents are generally happy with their parks.
The survey was conducted by GreenPlay, LLC — the consulting group working with the City of Wilsonville to update its Master Plan for the first time since 2007 — which started research back in April to first get a feel for Wilsonville's demographic. They then assembled and distributed the survey throughout the community, getting back 981 completed surveys in response.
GreenPlay Project Consultant Tom Diehl said the results showed residents rated their satisfaction with Wilsonville's parks as an average of 4.5 out of 5, and that 50 percent of those surveyed visited Wilsonville Parks once or more per week. He said pleasant views, safe and secure parks in terms of lighting and visibility and park programming were all aspects of Wilsonville parks that residents enjoy.
"As far as satisfaction of parks on a 1-5 scale ... your parks scored very well. People are very pleased with the different aspects of those parks and the quality of your parks," Diehl said. "In terms of the types of parks that residents want, facilities and neighborhood parks was the number one, followed by trails and pathways, picnic tables and shelters, and then children play areas, water features and river access were all at the top."
GreenPlay's research showed that 92 percent of people live within walking distance of some type of recreation — including open spaces or parks provided by entities other than the city — while 67 percent of residents can walk to a Wilsonville park.
GreenPlay, a national company that has worked with hundreds of cities across the United States, also independently rated all of Wilsonville's 19 parks using its own rating system. Overall, Diehl said Wilsonville's parks scored favorably, and that seven of Wilsonville's parks fall in the top 10 percent of parks nationally in terms of quality.
Memorial Park finished first, followed by Town Center, Murase, the Willamette River Water Treatment Park, Montague Park, Edelweiss and Graham Oaks Nature Park. Merryfield, Tranquil and Boones Ferry Park came in as Wilsonville's lowest rated, meanwhile. Diehl said one aspect of Wilsonville parks that stood out is the variety, including nationally trending features like pickle ball courts, disc golf and nature-based play parks.
"We have a process where we go out and grade each site, recording everything that's out there as well as the quality and condition," Diehl said. "We evaluated everything based on condition, functionality — if they serve their intended purpose — and other quality
items such as shade, views. ... Our assessment is that your parks are generally well-maintained."
Overall, Diehl said GreenPlay had concluded that access to the Willamette River, programs and activities through parks and rec, athletic courts, increased farmers market
opportunities and the pre-
servation of open spaces
were the main aspects of parks that residents wanted to
see more of in Wilsonville's parks.
Diehl noted that most of Wilsonville's athletic fields are located in the same area — Memorial Park — with the exception of fields located at schools. He said it didn't stand out as an issue with surveyed people, but that adding athletic fields throughout the community might be something to look toward in a master plan.
"Other things to consider are that there were some playground areas that could use some upgrades ... and one thing we noticed is that all your sports fields are in one place," Diehl said. "There are no standalone what we call rectangle fields in all of Wilson-
ville. They're all overlapping other things and are multipurpose."
While the survey showed there were few options for niche users like skaters and disc golfers, their polled audience also said there was little demand from those activities. But after audience members suggested there was a greater demand for skate parks in particular than the survey might show, Diehl said it was something the consulting firm will consider when building the Master Plan.
"The survey is just one piece of information we're using when creating this master plan," Diehl said. "That's why we do meetings like this, so that we can get more input and realize that not every person in Wilsonville was included in that survey."
In terms of river access, Diehl said the redesign of Boones Ferry Park is a perfect opportunity to address that desire given the park's proximity to the Willamette River. GreenPlay is handling the creation of that master plan as well, and will begin gathering public input at a Sept. 5 meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. Boones Ferry Park is located at 31240 S.W. Boones Ferry Park.
The results of the master plan survey can be found online at wilsonvilleparksandrec.com.