Park district looks for residents’ feedback, insights in 2019

  As park district officials seek directions for the 
  future, one of the big question marks is what to 
  do about the aging ice arena.
(Chronicle file photos)
 
What do the parks and park programs mean to you?
 
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will be asking those and other questions in 2019 through various surveys to be conducted by PROS Consulting, a firm that specializes in park district information. Commissioners approved a $31,455 contract with the firm at the Oct. 16 park board meeting.
 
  Local families enjoy the 
  many activities and programs
  sponsored by the park 
  district, like this family at 
  the 2018 Lucky Egg Hunt 
  in Irwin Park. The district 
  is seeking feedback from 
  residents about programs 
  they value most. 

 
The firm will use a variety of ways to connect with residents, including mailings, surveys at park programs, in the quarterly park brochure, at registration times and through focus groups.
 
“The end result should paint a clear picture of what the park district can do in the future to meet the expectations of residents,” said Debbie Kopas, the park district's executive director.
 
Board President Steve Johnson said commissioners have been taking a serious look at what next steps the board will take in dealing with the H-F Ice Arena. In a few years, the refrigerant currently used to make ice will no longer be available and that is forcing the board to question what types of changes are necessary at the Ice Arena.
 
While that was the “main driver” of a facilities analysis, the survey will be broad in getting feedback from residents and park facilities users on all aspects of the park district. 
 
Kopas said the consulting firm will be asking about facilities, the physical plant, pros and cons of the district’s programming and a market analysis that looks at H-F parks in comparison to other area park districts.
 
She said the board hopes to use the results to develop a vision for what’s appropriate for the Homewood-Flossmoor area.
 
“That’s the emphasis. It becomes more of a global look at the whole community,” Kopas explained.
 
Austin Hochestetler of PROS Consulting told the board part of the project will include an “environmental scan” to compare H-F with other surrounding districts and determine what the saturation point is for some programs.  That segment of the report will give the board a list of opportunities, a list of facilities both in H-F and in the surrounding area, and what the marketing niche is for H-F.
 

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