The City of Collegedale Parks and Recreation Department announced the results of the October 2018 survey and assessment conducted in partnership with Dr. Andrew Bailey’s Outdoor Recreation class at UTC. Three hundred twenty-eight respondents completed the survey with 51 percent identifying as residents of the City.
“We provide programming and recreational facilities that serve the greater Collegedale community as well as visitors to the region,” says Traci Bennett-Hobek, director of Parks and Recreation. In addition, all ages were well-represented in the household responses to parks and recreation experiences.
The survey results showed that Collegedale parks are popular and usage is high; the median number of visits a year by the average resident is 66 times. The Greenway and Imagination Station are the most visited parks in the Collegedale system. The top 5 park priorities noted from survey results include: 1) maintaining current parks, 2) developing new greenways, 3) providing recycling receptacles, 4) offering water bottle filling stations and 5) interest in the construction of a splash pad or pool.
City of Collegedale Parks and Recreation department programming, educational classes and facilitator-led activities started in December 2017. Since then, over 170 programs and activities have been offered to the public to include partnerships with Collegedale Bicycle Safety and Pedestrian program, Collegedale Inspires Healthy Living coalition, Wolftever Creek Elementary School, Chattanooga Soap Box Derby, Collegedale Library and Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation. Participation numbers in these programs and activities averaged over 4,500 people of all ages.
The department is in its second full year of programming and survey results noted residents are overwhelmingly satisfied with park services.
Programming is limited to staffing and development at this stage, but department key responsibilities line up with a study provided by NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association).
The top five most common program options for parks and recreation agencies in the U.S. are: 1) Team Sports, 2) Themed Special Events, 3) Social Recreation Events, 4) Health and Wellness Education and 5) Fitness Enhancement Classes.
A referenced note in the UTC results states that, “Children’s use of a park can increase by 400 percent if they have access close to home.” Based on national metrics, Collegedale ranks high in the number of residents per city park, and below the average in accessibility to parks in acreage per capita. Safe Routes to Parks is one of NRPA’s initiatives to implement environmental, policy, and program strategies that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people. One of the goals of Safe Routes to Parks outlines strategies for connecting neighborhoods to parks with no more than a ½ mile walking radius. At present, many Collegedale residents must drive to the parks and greenway system in order to safely access the facilities and structures.
Preventive Savings were also included in the report summary. Collegedale currently maintains 65 acres of developed park space with another 37 acres undeveloped public land. Based on NRPA estimations, Collegedale’s greenspace provides an annual $9,680.82 in air benefits and another $76,266.42 in water quality and flood prevention. Provision of park space encourages physical activity and in turn, decreases chronic illness. The 65 acres of developed park space saves an estimated $22,815 in yearly health care costs associated with inactivity.
“Collegedale continues to seek ways to improve the health and wellness of its community,” states Ms. Bennett-Hobek. The City of Collegedale thanks the UTC Outdoor Recreation department for compiling the survey results and helping with this initial step towards community input in the future of Parks and Recreation.
Look for an open public input meeting coming this spring. To stay up to date on currents events and activities in the City, visit collegedaleparksandrec.com or Facebook @Collegedaleparksandrec.