LONG RANGE PLANNING COMMITTEE OWNERS’ CLUB RECREATION/POOL COMPLEX SURVEY RESULTS
This questionnaire was completed by 1032 members of the GTA.
The largest group of members completing the questionnaire is the part time, weekend only members. They represent 31.1% of the respondents.
The second largest group of respondents (25.4%) are the part time, yet more than weekend members.
The third group is the full time residents at 24.7%.
The respondents were asked about the GTA member services, 35% of the respondents do not use the services.
The most often utilized services (in descending order) are handyman services, snowplowing, firewood delivery, lawn mowing, and weeding and lawn feeding.
More than half or 54.7% of the respondents stated that it is important for the GTA to provide these services.
The exercise activity most often utilized in the Territory (81.5%) is outdoor walking, jogging and running. The other activities (in descending order) are golf, trail hiking, play swimming , marina, lake activities, fishing, treadmill, weight training, outdoor biking, stationary bike, lap swimming, tennis, and fitness / dance. Family members followed the same pattern of exercise.
With regard to the exercise equipment in the Owners’ Club, 37.2% of the respondents reported that they do not use the facility and 37.1% reported that the equipment is adequate for their needs. However, 9.6% reported the equipment is inadequate for their needs.
Many respondents (116) offered opinions regarding the equipment. Their responses have been tabulated.
38 requested more treadmills;
19 requested more space;
19 requested more elliptical;
17 requested more/better weights/weight machines
14 requested more stationary bikes;
6 requested stair machines; and
Other comments included needs for better locker room facilities and maintenance, higher quality equipment, windows, extended hours and a reduction in heat – it’s too hot.
More than half of the respondents reported that they do not use the fitness center (54.5%). It is used most often in the winter, followed by fall, spring and summer. Thirty-six percent use it fewer than 10 days per year, followed by 9.5% using it 10 – 20 days per year and 1.1% using it 21 – 31 days per year.
When asked if the respondents use an alternative exercise facility, 82 reported that they use the facilities at Eagle Ridge. Twenty-two have a gym in their home, 17 use the Midwest Fitness Center and/or use facilities outside of Galena. Ten respondents exercise in Dubuque and 4 use the trails in the Territory.
The respondents are not well informed regarding the Summer Recreation Theme Week programs, 86.2% reported that they are unsure as to if their families participate in these programs. The largest participating age group of children/grandchildren of the respondents is 9 – 11 years old. This group is followed by 16 – 18 year olds, 12 – 15 year olds, 6 – 8 year olds and the under 5 year old group.
The pool is reported to be used, most frequently 1 to 5 times per season (42.1%). The pool is used 6 to 10 times per season by 18.2% and is never used by 17.1% of the respondents. This facility is most often used by the 8 – 13 year olds (60.2%) followed by middle aged adults (48.7%), 5 – 7 year olds (46.9%), infant to 4 year olds (37.2%), young adults (32.8%), 14 – 17 year olds (31.5%), seniors (28.2%), and least used by the 18 – 20 years olds (17.4%).
When asked which improvements are most desirable in a new pool/recreation complex, 59% reported that an indoor/outdoor pool is most desired. The other choices were:
• Large deck with chairs – 55.8%
• Shade structures – 50.1%
• Concessions – 48.4%
• Dressing room/lockers/showers – 45.9%
• Parking – 41.1%
• Hot tub – 36.4%
• Indoor pool – 35.9%
• Kiddy pool – 34.7%
• Lap pool – 32.3%
• Interactive slides, etc. – 30%
• Adjacent picnic area – 27.5%
• Zero entry leisure pool – 25.7%
• Water aerobics and water exercise – 25.6%
• Sauna – 20.3%
• Steam room – 20.1%
• Outdoor party space – 19.6%
• Diving – 18.2%
• No improvements – 11.2%
This question garnered the greatest number of responses. The responses focused on a few key issues. The greatest number of respondents supported the idea of an indoor/outdoor pool (30). Yet, have great concerns about the cost of another new facility – citing the Owners’ Club. It was pointed out that an outdoor pool in our climate is not cost effective in that it is only useable a few months of the year. It was pointed out that there are indoor/outdoor pools available in both Galena and Dubuque.
Many people have strong opinions regarding the use of the facility by rental guests. Most who addressed this issue want the rental guests to have to pay a fee or not be allowed to use the pool. It was suggested that the guests use the facilities at ER.
Many suggested a hot tub and sauna, for adult use only. Many suggested separate facilities for kids and adults. In fact, a few would like to banish kids from the pool facility. The biggest complaints included perceived costs, rental guests, and the children vs. adults’ usage issue.
The quantitative data reflect an interest in new furniture, more shaded areas, concessions (healthy options were cited), and improved dressing room/lockers/showers.
When asked if the respondents are willing to finance the changes with an increase in the annual assessment, 49% reported they are willing to pay fewer than $50.00 per year. Thirty-six percent are willing to pay $50.00 - $100.00 and 14.6% are willing to pay $100.00 to $150.00 per year.
The membership was asked who should be given priority status with regard to the design of a new pool. The respondents reported that middle aged adults should have the highest status (72.5%). This was followed by the seniors (59.8%). The remaining groups (in descending order) are 8 – 13 year olds, 5 – 7 year olds, young adults (28.7%), infant to 4 year olds (26.6%), 14 – 17 years olds (25.2%), and 18 – 20 year olds (15.8%).
If the GTA had an indoor pool, 53.7% of the respondents would use this facility for weekend/holiday family play. This is followed by other water/fitness activities (36.1%), lap swimming (35.1%), we would not use an indoor pool (20.2%), and not sure (13.1%). This question illustrates the different perceptions held by the respondents regarding a new pool. The respondents want both a family play pool and a fitness/lap pool. The design of a new facility should allow for both types of activity.
The next item asked respondents to identify facilities which are valuable to property owners. The questionnaire provided an exhaustive list. The trail system was identified as the most valuable (71.2%). It is closely followed by the fitness center (70.6%). Overall, the respondents believe that all of the facilities are valuable. The least valued facility is squash/racquetball (13.3%).
The respondents were asked to offer additional comments regarding the facilities. The overwhelming response was that the owners want to contain costs. Thirty-four respondents addressed the need to contain costs due to the increased assessment for the Owners’ Club, the sagging economy, fixed incomes, and sagging property values.
Lastly, 98.3% of the respondents receive their information about activities, services and local perspectives from the Territory Times.
The data reveal a number of issues for the GTA. The membership values the member services. Although 35% reported they do not use the services, this questionnaire did not ask for reasons for not using the services.
The primary exercise source for the respondents is outdoor activity (walking/jogging, etc.). Of the respondents using the fitness center, they had many suggestions for improvement. They suggest improved equipment, more varied equipment, a larger space, and better environment controls. Many chose to use ER or other facilities. The facility is used most often in the winter.
Most are uninformed about the Summer Recreation theme Weeks. They are unaware if their families participate.
The pool is underutilized by the respondents. It is most often used 1 to 5 times per season. However, the respondents had many comments. Overall, they do not like sharing this facility with rental guests. They want the rental guests to pay a fee, much like community pools. There are complaints regarding children using the pool and adults using the pool. The parents/grandparents reported that children want more interactive, “fun” things to do at the pool and the adults want more “adult” things to do at the pool. Adults want an exercise (lap swimming, exercise) facility, and they reported that their children/grandchildren want diving, slides, etc. Many would like a hot tub and sauna. If a new facility is constructed, most respondents prefer an indoor/outdoor pool. The respondents want the design of a new pool to consider the needs of the membership (middle aged adults, seniors, and children). The majority are willing pay fewer than $50.00 per year for this facility.
The largest concern is cost containment. Many respondents voiced a concern for costs. They expressed concerns for the Territory remaining affordable for weekend and full time living. Overwhelmingly, most would like the Owners’ Club debt to be paid before incurring additional debt.
Mary Carol Harris, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication at Loras College
Chairperson of the Division of Communication & Fine Arts