The Community Responses Are In!
An online survey was created to gauge public interest and preference for the future use of Town-owned property located at the corner of Town Centre Drive and N Main Street – otherwise known as The People’s Park. The survey received 274 responses. Zip code 22482 drew the largest number of respondents, representing 48%. Interest in the future use of this site extends beyond the town boundaries primarily to residents of greater Lancaster County and into then Northumberland County. The majority of respondents believed that equal focus should be given to both visitors and residents. As an average, opinion fell slightly on the “local” side of the spectrum. The sentiment expressed is that both residents and visitors should be considered but with a greater emphasis on the needs of residents.
A list of ten potential uses were given (not mutually exclusive) and an option to rank each idea on a scale of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. A final “other” option was provided to allow for proposed alternative ideas not listed.
Use listed by rank:
Use Weighted Score
Outdoor amphitheater and stage 239
Walking/Fitness Trails 236
Farmers market arcade 162
Biking/Hiking Trails 143
Picnic shelters and grills 134
Open field for festivals, car shows, etc. 123
“Town Square” with water feature, statue or other landmark 82
Nature trail with interpretive signage 80
Multi-purpose athletic fields -13
Generally, respondents were more likely to indicate positive responses than negative. Most responded to all of the options with an answer.
At the beginning of the survey respondents were encouraged to voice their opinions, especially if they felt that no appropriate ideas were provided. When asked about other uses or comments, the majority of comments came from those opposed to public investment in the site, alternatively suggesting to sell the site to a user that would expand the tax base. Eight of the 274 respondents expressed this view.
The second most common theme was a desire for an event space, specifically for performances (music and theater), but also for festivals and as a meeting place.
Respondents were asked to rank which of the listed uses they would use most often. Proposed frequency of use of the Outdoor amphitheater and stage, and Walking/Fitness trails both align with their popularity. These top two items far outrank the others regarding frequency of use. Following that was playground, area for farmer’s market/festivals, biking/hiking trail, and picnic shelter. Generally, popularity and frequency of use align. The biggest exception is Biking/Hiking Trails. While many people “strongly disagree” that this use is appropriate, it received the third highest number of votes for most frequently used feature.
A slight majority of respondents believe the location of the dog park is flexible. The dog park still received a pretty strong show of support at its current location.
Town staff and consultants are in the process of putting together variations of conceptual plans for the property. Once completed, the town will conduct an open forum opportunity for the public to view and comment.