Survey: Parker residents laud recreation, pan growth

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Results from a recent survey of Parker residents show a continued appreciation for recreational amenities, and concern over a lack of employment opportunities.

The 2013 Town of Parker Citizen Survey revealed the attitudes of 808 random residents, roughly one-third of whom have called Parker home for 10 years or more. They weighed in on topics such as quality of life, traffic, sense of community, growth and cost of living.

The five-page survey — mailed out in January  — was the first since 2009. The normally biannual set of questions was scrapped in 2011 due to budget constraints, said Elise Penington, community affairs coordinator for the town.

Among the highest-rated strengths was quality of life, with 91 percent rating it as either “good” or “excellent.” Recreational amenities in the town also were popular, with 90 percent saying they are “good” or “excellent.”

The majority of respondents — 55 percent — said they believe population growth in Parker was too fast over the last two years. New housing construction was also a concern, with 24 percent saying it was occurring “much too fast.” They represent larger percentages than the national averages, and concerns about growth have been a common theme in Parker’s citizen survey since it was launched in 1999.

However, 43 percent of the survey-takers rated the pace of population growth as the “right amount,” highlighting widely differing opinions regarding improving economic and housing market conditions.

Residents used the survey to criticize areas they believe need improvement. Sixty-nine percent rated job opportunities in Parker as “fair” or “poor,” and 68 percent said the same about the ease of bus travel. The majority of those who answered questions about bus travel, however, acknowledged that they do not use public transportation, Penington said.

Town officials are actively pursuing major employers through tax incentive packages. Bus travel is also on town council’s radar, with ongoing efforts to boost local ridership.

Respondents rated the town’s “openness and acceptance of the community toward people of diverse backgrounds” differently, with 66 percent saying the town is “excellent” or “good,” and 34 percent rating it as “fair” or “poor.”

Residents were asked to list the one thing the town could do to improve the quality of life in Parker. The most common answer was more restaurants and grocery stores (16 percent), followed by parks and trails, recreation center and entertainment (14 percent) and improved traffic, roads and snow removal (10 percent).

The Town of Parker asks “the same core set of questions to compare (the answers) over time,” but poses a different set of policy questions in each survey, Penington said. The 2013 topics focused on transportation and the future of the downtown area.

The answers help town officials make policy decisions during strategic planning sessions and are used by department heads and staff members who request additional funding to address specific needs.

To view the survey, go to www.parkeronline.org/citizensurvey.

Other citizen survey results

• Of the 2,863 households that received the survey, 808 completed it, resulting in a response rate of 28 percent.

• Reported responses are for those who had an opinion; “don’t know” responses were removed from the analyses.

• Of the respondents, 76 percent own their home.

• Eighty-one percent of respondents rated the town’s quality of service as “good” or “excellent.”

• The Town of Parker exceeded national and Front Range averages in most categories.

• The largest deviations between the 2013 and 2009 surveys appear in the section about town leadership, with double-digit jumps in some categories devoted to delivery of town services.

• Survey results were presented to town council June 10.