Every five years the Porter County Parks and Recreation Department produces an update to its Master Plan. The update is not simply a document in an electronic file folder or a deck of PowerPoint slides. The update is a cohesive and comprehensive process that brings together stakeholder groups, park users, advocates, elected officials, concerned citizens and funders. The Park Board in 2016 appointed one of its members as well as a member of the Parks Foundation Board as co-chairs for the current committee. Together with nine other members this group has reviewed massive amounts of data, met again and again and probed deeply into the maneuverings of our County Park Department.
Recently the committee shared with the Park Board and the general public the results of a Needs Assessment Survey as part of the Master Plan Update. The complete results of the survey can be found at the Park Departments website: http://www.porterco.org/DocumentCenter/View/4067.
For all of you data nerds out there, this is a treasure trove of information, cross-tabulations and statistics. But if you prefer to understand the key components here you go.
First, people in Porter County really like outdoor recreation. Our favorite activities are walking, hiking, biking and swimming. We love our trails, natural areas and Lake Michigan. In addition, we love the County Fair; it was ranked as the third most used outdoor activity by our residents.
Next, residents value their County Parks and Recreation Department. 83% of the survey respondents said that they were somewhat or very satisfied with the condition of our County Parks while 74% said they were satisfied with the value they receive from our agency.
When we asked how future resources should be spend on parks and recreation it was also fairly clear what is important to our residents. The top priorities that respondents felt we should take include: providing environmental protection, provide and maintain natural areas and wildlife habitats, develop a connected system of trails, protect the history of Porter County and acquire open space as well as land along streams and greenways.
Finally, we asked respondents how they feel these activities and facilities should be paid for. Again, answers were consistent and clear. Our community wants to see the Park Board continue to employ a mix of ways to generate revenue: fees, grants and fundraising as well as tax dollars. In fact, over 75% of households who answered our survey said they would be willing to pay at least an extra 25 cents each month ($3.00 per year) to improve our County Parks and Recreation system.
All of this information plus a great deal more is available on the County Park Department’s website. Please contact us with any feedback and we look forward to seeing you all in the parks!
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Visit Porter County Parks & Recreation Partner Profile