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Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School Principal Mike Peterson herds the students out of the building as school finally ended for the year on Tuesday.

By Staff | Jun 10, 2009

The Estherville Parks and Recreation Board received results from a community-wide survey on Monday.

The survey is a tool for the board to develop a five-year plan to improve parks and recreation programs.

The Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission conducted the survey and planner Aaron Sedey reported the results. He and the NWIPDC are helping the board develop the five-year plan.

Of the 351 surveys sent to random households in Estherville, 83 were returned.

Sedey observed that most of the returned surveys were fill out by the elderly that rarely use the parks.

Nearly 58 percent said there is no need for more parks in Estherville.

While the board plans to develop the former Lincoln school site into a park, 71 percent of respondents said they’d like to see a large-scale community playground there.

Board member Gary Phillips suggested the area could be developed as all handicap-accessible.

“We have the Lincoln site which is in close proximity to the hospital,” he said. “If we ran with that theme, there has to be money (grants) out there somewhere.”

The board elected not to take any official action on what projects to select as part of the five-year plan while reviewing the results of the survey.

A special meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. next Monday to discuss options.

Other survey results of note:

n 52 percent thinks the Parks and Recreation Department should be involved in the building and maintenance of a skate park.

n 39 percent thinks Estherville is in need of campground facilities.

n 44 percent think an ATV Park would be beneficial to Estherville.

n The three most requested facilities for parks were benches, picnic areas and trails.

In other business, the board denied a request from Team Twist to use park land as a place to practice for paint ball. The issue had been tabled at May’s meeting to give Estherville Parks and Recreation Director Dave Spurgin a chance to consult with the city’s insurance agent. The agent said the city would be covered if the team practices on park land, but he advised against it.

Reviewing the spring youth soccer program, Spurgin noted participation was down by half in 2009.

Board member Laurel Hash said she had heard some negative comments on the soccer program. She said having only four games might have played a part in decline.

Spurgin said he thought the program went well. With low numbers, practice for all kids was held on the same night. Each coach taught one area

“I thought the kids were learning fundamentals better,” said board member Joan Heckard.

Hash also thought the weather hadn’t cooperated the last few years during the soccer season.