New parks master plan eyed in Hudson

City leaders hope to finish document by end of year

FROM A STAFF REPORT
Kent Weeklies

HUDSON — City leaders hope to implement a new parks master plan by the end of the year.

That plan will be crafted through input that the city received through a survey that was just completed, upcoming focus group sessions and a separate survey that was performed in the early part of this year.

The city is working with the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands to study the issue more with public open houses over the coming months to determine how best to improve parks to meet the current and future needs of residents. Trent Wash, the city’s assistant director of public works, said parks officials will soon organize online focus group meetings to discuss the potential master plan. He noted the city is paying Eppley $39,000 for its work.

As part of its process, city officials are examining results of a random sample survey of 485 households that was conducted by The ETC Institute in December 2019 and January 2020. ETC was paid $12,000 to perform the survey, according to Wash. The survey asked residents about their usage and opinions of park facilities, as well as whether they felt their needs were being met by the parks.

The ETC survey was performed prior to the closures and restrictions that have occurred due to COVID-19. Wash said he does not expect residents’ opinions to “greatly change” in the separate survey that was just finished, but added “you never know.”

The city’s parks master plan was last updated in 2000.

Highlights of ETC survey

The ETC Institute has issued an Executive Summary and Report of its December 2019/January 2020 survey, which can be viewed at https://www.hudson.oh.us/110/Parks.

ETC Institute mailed a survey packet to a random sample of 2,500 households. The goal was to have 300 households fill out of the survey; 485 completed the questionnaire.

According to ETC’s report, the most visited parks in Hudson in 2019 were: Hudson Springs, Barlow Farm Park, Veterans Way Park and Cascade Park with each park receiving visits from more than 50% of surveyed households. Most respondents (83%) indicated they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the overall value their household receives from the parks services, while 12% gave a “neutral” response, 4% were “somewhat dissatisfied” and 1% were “very dissatisfied.”

Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the maintenance of city parks. For the most part, residents were satisfied with the number of parks (86%), available parking at parks (85%), amount of open spaces (78%), and number of walking/biking trails (72%).

In terms of areas of concern, there were residents who said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the number of tennis courts/pickleball courts (38%), facilities for adults age 55 and older (27%), and availability of information about facilities (25%).

Respondents were asked what is preventing them from using recreation facilities more often. The reasons most often cited were: “I do not know what is being offered” (32%), “no time to participate” (25%), “facility not offered” (24%), and “I do not know locations of facilities” (24%).

The ETC Institute analyzed the residents’ expressed unmet needs to determine the top priorities for investment in park and recreation facilities. Four facilities were rated as “high priorities” for investment:

• Walking and biking trails;

• Nature centers and trails;

• Sledding hills; and

• Off-leash dog parks

Contact the newspaper at hudsonhubtimes@recordpub.com.