Splash pad, security, magnificence referred to as essential for parks in Farmington
FARMINGTON – Results from a Farmington Park survey show that respondents view water activities like a splash park and swimming as very important to park recreation and say a sense of security and beauty are elements that draw them to a park.
Sarah Geurtz of Earthplan Design Alternatives in Springdale said 39 people originally responded to the survey. The poll then reopened and closed about three weeks later with comments from 270 people.
Despite the added interest, the results remained essentially the same, Geurtz told members of the Farmington Planning Commission during their November 22nd meeting.
Of those surveyed, 72% lived within the Farmington city limits and around 50% of those surveyed were in the 30 to 49 age group. Another 30% were in the 50-59 age group.
In the survey, participants were asked about passive rest and active recreational activities.
For passive recreation, 63% said they would like to hike and take nature walks if these activities were offered in parks. About 39% said they liked nature, animal, and bird watching, and about 33% said they would love a dog park and bike ride if offered.
Of active activities, around 60% said they would like to enjoy a splash park and swimming if a park offered them. Other active recreational activities include a children’s playground (53%), historical or archaeological sites (24%), and major sports (14-23%).
Football, skateboarding and bicycle motocross were listed as less important activities based on the survey results.
The respondents were asked about the importance of park elements that encourage them to visit a park. The survey results showed that 83% consider a feeling of security to be very important, followed by beauty (66%), park location (63%), hiking and jogging (57%) and games for children (51%). Active sports games and socializing were less important activities in attracting respondents to a park.
The survey also asked participants what they would like to see in Farmington Parks over the next 10 to 20 years. The results show that children’s play areas and green spaces as a place of refuge, together with picnic areas, are of the greatest importance for the future. Others were ecological conservation, spaces for relaxation, space for sports and games, and walking distances to parks.
Geurtz said her “takeaway” from the survey was that the city could look for ways to improve security, such as:
Geurtz said other desirable elements for parks, according to the survey results, would be more children’s playgrounds, hiking trails, walking and hiking trails, as well as a splash park and / or swimming.
Farmington has 7,584 residents, according to the 2020 census, and the city is expected to grow to more than 15,500 by 2045, based on estimates by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.
The minimum standard for parkland, Geurtz said, is 10 acres per 1,000 residents. The city now meets this standard with 83.21 hectares in the park system. If the city grows as planned, it would need another 72 hectares by 2045. One way to achieve this, according to Geurtz, would be a partnership that makes it possible to open schoolyards to the public after work.
Another factor to consider when thinking of parks is how long it takes people to get into a park, according to Geurtz. According to the survey, 34% said they would be willing to walk to a park for up to 10 minutes and 21% said they would be willing to walk to a park for 20 minutes. On a related question, 40% said they would be willing to take a 5 to 10 minute drive to get to a park.
“Right now there is a big push to have parks as a target within 10 minutes of everyone,” Geurtz told the members of the commission. “Thirty-two percent of Farmington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.”
Geurtz said the city’s master park plan should include a vision with goals and objectives. She offered a draft vision statement, along with a draft of goals and objectives.
According to the draft vision statement, Farmington will be known for its beautiful parks and the parks will encourage connections through a walkable, family-friendly community and park system. The parks will promote the physical and mental health of all.
Design goals include pedestrian connections throughout the community, a mix of park sizes where appropriate, something for all abilities and ages, and preserving the natural history beauty of the parks.
Geurtz said the commission will continue to hold talks to develop a master park plan. These discussions include studying trends for parks, the best way to incorporate parks into the city, and the placement of future parks.
When a draft plan is ready, the Commission will hold a hearing to seek public opinion. The final document must be approved by Farmington City Council.