By Jay Cook |
HOLMDEL – Holmdel residents find time to visit recreation areas every week. They like hiking and walking trails. And on their wish list? More adult fitness programs and a summer concert series, too.
Those were some of the takeaways from the results of a township-wide recreation survey that reached 1,184 of the 5,834 households in Holmdel over a one-month span near the end of last year.
“To have over 20 percent of households respond, I think that’s a huge accomplishment, it really is,” said Holmdel Committeeman Greg Buontempo. “It means that people were interested, willing to spend the time and want some investment into the community.”
The survey was created by a recreational ad hoc committee, appointed by Holmdel elected officials last year. The ad hoc committee was borne out of criticism the township endured after Holmdel residents successfully petitioned the governing body to repeal a $3.3 million bond ordinance for two collegiate-sized synthetic turf fields at Cross Farm Park. A month later, Holmdel began seeking residents to form the recreation committee.
One of those committee members is Lea Shave, who told The Two River Times on Tuesday that the survey results should be used as a guiding tool for any and all recreational expenditures the town incurs in the future.
“We hope that (the survey) will be listened to objectively as possible without the results being skewed to other groups in town,” she said.
Here are some of the takeaways found in the Holmdel Township Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Report:
Holmdel Park and Thompson Park, both entities of the Monmouth County Park System, were the two most heavily used recreational areas by Holmdel residents over a 12-month span. Nearly 88 percent visited Holmdel Park and nearly 61 percent went to Thompson Park. Cross Farm Park and Holmdel High School were the highest-visited township-owned properties, with 47.5 percent going to Cross Farm Park and 38.5 percent using the facilities at Holmdel High School.
The Mahoras Greenway, Neil Waackaack Reserve, and Labbe Park were the three least-trafficked Holmdel parks, each visited by 1 percent or less of households surveyed.
Sixty-six percent of all households surveyed said Holmdel has an adequate number of active recreational facilities, and a majority of respondents (48 percent) said Holmdel shouldn’t consider improving, developing or expanding active township parks.
The five most desired recreational options were walking and hiking trails (77 percent); nature trails (61 percent); biking and mountain biking trails (46 percent); natural and wildlife areas (41 percent); and natural grass fields (38 percent). The five least desired amenities were roller hockey rinks, shuffleboard courts, pickleball courts, special needs fields and courts, and equestrian trails.
Ninety-one percent of respondent households said Holmdel has “good” or “excellent” parks.
If Holmdel were to offer other potential indoor recreational options, 53 percent of households responding said a fitness center would be the best choice. Thirty percent said indoor courts would be a good choice, and only eight percent sided with adding e-sports/gaming options.
The top five programs residents are seeking are adult fitness and wellness programs (48 percent); a summer concert series (43 percent); adult continuing education programs (32 percent); outdoor movies (29 percent); and active adult programs for residents 50 and older (29 percent).
Holmdel’s township engineer Fran Mullen said a full report will be presented to the governing body at a March 13 meeting, which will outline all the findings from two open houses and the survey.
Though in the meantime, Buontempo said the survey responses speak for themselves.
“When you look at the results, it really laid out where people’s thoughts are on where they want recreation enhancements or improvements to be made,” he said.
For the full survey results, visit HolmdelTownship-NJ.com and look under the News and Announcements section on the front page.
This article was first published in the March 1-8, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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