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posted: 7/2/2012 5:38 PM

Naperville Park District gets high marks in survey

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Naperville Park District Executive Director Ray McGury had a feeling his constituents liked the park district.

But even he did a double take when he saw residents rated the district and its facilities even higher than they did three years ago.

"I truly was really surprised at how we jumped in value and satisfaction of our residents," McGury said. "We already ranked pretty high, and those numbers grew."

According to the 2012 community survey, during which 502 Naperville heads of household were surveyed, 98 percent of residents are aware of the district and hold it in high esteem, ranking it 8.2 on a 0-10 scale.

The residents were surveyed during the evening and weekend hours between May 9 and 22. Once again, residents ranked trails as the most used and desired recreational amenity, followed closely by nature areas and picnic facilities.

"It's always a good feeling to have the work you do validated by those you serve," McGury said. "Resident feedback always will be an essential element as we continue to move the district forward."

Indoor facilities also garnered attention with two-thirds of those surveyed expressing a need for an indoor fitness center and/or indoor pool. However, when asked to select which one indoor facility should be the NPDs highest priority, 25 percent said "none/don't know," 22 percent mentioned an indoor pool/aquatics center and 11 percent said indoor fitness facilities.

McGury said ultimately he can envision the community's need for more indoor recreation space and an announcement on that will be coming in the next few weeks. But an indoor pool is very unlikely.

"The cost alone makes it a pretty unattractive proposition," McGury said. "The cost to build would be in the $3 million to $5 million range, and it would cost about $250,000 annually to operate," he said. "You also have to figure in the costs of staffing it, even during those deadzone morning and afternoon hours."

The district also got the usual comments from individuals who think it needs to provide more programming for seniors, or more interactive playground equipment for older children.

"All in all, we're very pleased with the results of this survey because it shows the dedication and hard work put in by our staff," McGury said. "But we know there's still plenty of work to be done."

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