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Survey says: Rec department wants residents' input

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Ann Fiore
December 21, 2007
— Whether you play dodgeball, swim laps at Marshall Middle School or send your kids to Rec Nite, the Janesville Recreation Department wants your opinion.

What kinds of recreational opportunities do you use? What don’t you like? What do you want to see two or three years from now?


The department probably will operate with less money in future years. It needs a strategic plan so it can keep offering services people want, maintain existing facilities and find new revenue, said recreation director Bonnie Davis.


“To effectively use taxpayers’ money, we’ve got to know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and who we’re doing it for,” Davis said.


Part of that planning, starting in January, will involve residents’ input through phone and written surveys and focus groups.


“They’re our stakeholders. We need their input,” Davis said.


Surveys will include questions about adult and youth sports, Rec Nites, camps, the senior center, the Janesville Ice Center and family events such as the Enchanted Forest and Sugar, Spice & Ice Fest.


Davis said she wants to get the opinions of nonparticipants, too.


“I want to get those not in our programs and find out why,” she said.


Two challenges Davis sees are the lack of city programs for small children and a nation that’s growing increasingly sedentary. Perhaps the latter explains why local softball participation has dropped, she said.


The strategic planning process also will look at opportunities provided by others—the YMCA, library, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts—to avoid duplication. That might uncover ways the city can partner with other organizations, similar to the lap swimming arrangement at Marshall with the South Central Swim Team.


And did you know the city rents equipment such as volleyball nets and beanbag sets?


Many people don’t, Davis said. The surveys might have the added benefit of explaining everything the rec department does.


Davis said she hopes to have a strategic plan finished by February.



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