Dickinson Parks & Recreation Department has completed a survey of its facilities, including West River Community Center and Heart River Golf Course.

Parks & Rec currently boasts 6,917 members.

The survey, conducted through May, had 716 users start the survey, with 505 users, or roughly 71%, completing it.

"This was done a while ago, and we've already started using some of the results to change some things we've been doing and looking at things long-term," Recreation/Facilities Director Matt Mack said at Monday's meeting of the Parks & Rec board.

The survey was sent to community center members, golf course season pass holders, and anyone who receives emails or newsletters from Parks & Rec.

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The effort is a part of the department's Vision 2020 plan.

"The purpose of this is just to get a better feel of where we can basically improve and get some sort of roadmap in place so we can move on into the future," Mack said.

Participants spent an average 6 minutes on the survey.

Of those responding, 347 were female and 158 were male, with 105 responses from ages 25 to 34 and 144 responses from ages 35 to 44.

"They were all the way across the board," Mack said. "There were some 18 year olds that did it and some 74-plus year olds who took the survey, as well."

The majority of responders have been Dickinson residents for 20 or more years (249 people) and for 10 to 19 years (94 people).

Participants were asked to rate facilities and features as excellent, good, average, not good, or poor.

Asked about their satisfaction with the city's parks, 51% (258 people) responded "Good" and 28% (145 people) responded "Average."

The majority were also satisfied with the department's programs, with 263 responding "Good" and 146 responding "Average."

Participants rated Parks & Rec's facilities as "Good" (247 people), with 141 people rating them "Excellent" and 98 people "Average."

The department's efforts at communicating with the public were rated "Good" by 188 people and "Average" by 185 people.

"Going through a lot of this, I think this is an area we need to focus a little bit more on, is just reaching out and getting information into people's hands," Mack said. "That's something we'll be working on."

Ranking Parks & Rec's strengths, out of six choices, the top rated were: quality of facilities, quality of parks, and diversity of recreation and leisure programs.

The most important issues facing the department, according to users, are: keeping up with the growing number of children, preserving and enriching Dickinson's quality of life, and programs and facilities that are reaching capacity.

Asked what new or additional outdoor and indoor facilities they would be interested in having developed or enhanced, users responded: parks, Patterson Lake, and splash pads.

"A theme through this whole survey was, really, finding more activities for kids to do," Mack said.

Participants were also asked what would motivate them to use the facilities more frequently. They responded: if it was less crowded, offering more programs, and offering additional group fitness classes.

The greatest consideration in renewing membership, users responded, were: cost, equipment provided, and cleanliness of facilities.

Asked about their satisfaction with membership fees, 147 people responded "Average," 136 said "Good" and 40 responded "Excellent."

The Parks & Rec board approved of the survey's results.

"I like when we do stuff like this," Board President Scott Kovash said. "I was hoping we could get more people to respond, but it is what it is."

Mack suggested releasing a survey each year to gauge the response to the department's efforts and continually improve.