Statistically Valid Recreation Needs Study 2023

PURPOSE

ETC Institute administered a parks, recreation and community education recreation needs survey

for the Town of Littleton during the summer of 2023. The survey was conducted to assist the Town

in understanding residents’ priorities for parks, indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, and

recreational, social, and cultural programs within the community. This is the first survey ETC

Institute has conducted for the Town of Littleton.

METHODOLOGY

The seven-page survey, cover letter and postage-paid return envelope were mailed to a random

sample of households in Littleton. The cover letter explained the purpose of the survey and

encouraged residents to either return their survey by mail or complete the survey online. Ten days

after the surveys were mailed, ETC Institute sent follow-up messages to households that received

the survey to encourage participation. The messages contained a link to the online version of the

survey to make it easy for residents to complete the survey.

The goal was to obtain completed surveys from at least 300 residents. This goal was met, with a

total of 330 households completing the survey. The results for the sample of 330 households have

a 95% level of confidence with a precision rate of at least +/- 5.4%.

This report contains the following:

  • An executive summary of the methodology for administering the survey and major findings
  • Charts showing the overall results of the survey (Section 1)
  • Priority Investment Rating (PIR) that identifies priorities for recreation programs and events. (Section 2)
  • Benchmarking analysis comparing Littleton’s results to the U.S. average (Section 3)
  • Usage-Satisfaction analysis showing investment priorities for parks and facilities (Section 4)
  • Tabular data showing the overall results for all questions on the survey (Section 5)
  •  A copy of the survey instrument (Section 6)

USAGE OF LITTLETON PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES

Eighty-four percent (84%) of the respondents surveyed indicated their household had visited

Littleton’s park and recreation facilities during the past year. Of those, 30% indicated they visited

at least once a week; 26% visited a few times per month, 15% visited at least once per month, and

29% visited a few times during the year.

Most of the respondents (88%) who visited parks or facilities in the past year rated the physical

condition of all as “excellent” or “good.”

REASONS PREVENTING HOUSEHOLDS FROM USING PARKS/FACILITIES/PROGRAMS

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the respondents surveyed indicated that being too busy prevented

them from using Littleton’s parks, facilities, or programs more often. Other reasons include: lack

of knowledge of what programs are offered (19%), no safe walking/biking routes to facilities (15%),

program that respondent is interested in is not offered (14%), and program times are not

convenient (13%).

SOURCES OF INFORMATION ABOUT LITTLETON PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT

Forty-six percent (46%) of the respondents surveyed indicated they learn about Littleton Parks

and Recreation Department news, parks, facilities, and programs through friends and neighbors

(word of mouth). Other sources of information include: Parks and Recreation Program Guide

(online) (45%), Parks and Recreation Program Guide (printed) (44%), Facebook (42%), and the Town

website (36%).

Based on the sum of their top three choices, the most preferred sources of information about parks,

facilities, and programs are: 1) Parks and Recreation Program Guide (printed), 2) Parks and

Recreation Program Guide (online), and 3) Facebook.

SATISFACTION WITH OVERALL VALUE OF LITTLETON PARKS AND RECREATION DEPT.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of the respondents surveyed indicated they are “very satisfied” or

“satisfied” with the overall value their household receives from the Littleton Parks and Recreation

Department; 32% are “neutral,” 4% are “dissatisfied,” and 5% are “very dissatisfied” with the

overall value their household receives from the Littleton Parks and Recreation Department.

SATISFACTION WITH MAINTENANCE/UPKEEP OF PARKS/TRAILS/FIELDS/OPEN SPACES

Three-fourths (75%) of the respondents surveyed indicated they are “very satisfied” or

“satisfied” with the maintenance and upkeep of the Town of Littleton parks, trails, fields, and open

spaces; 16% are “neutral,” 7% are “dissatisfied,” and 2% are “very dissatisfied.”

HOW RESIDENTS WOULD ALLOCATE FUNDS AMONG PARKS & RECREATION CATEGORIES

Residents were asked, if they had a budget of $100 for the Littleton Parks and Recreation

Department, how they would allocate the funds. The following were their responses:

building new recreational facilities that the Town does not have ($16.26), improvements to

existing outdoor sports complexes ($14.68), improvements to indoor recreation facilities

($11.39), improvements to local park amenities ($20.18), and land acquisition for future

park, trail, and recreation facility development ($37.49).

USAGE OF AND SATISFACTION WITH PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES

When residents were asked about their usage of various parks and recreation facilities, 65%

indicated they used Long Lake Beach and Swimming Area, and 62% used Fay Park. Other parks and

facilities used include: 300 King Street Park Castle in the Trees Playground (56%), Long Lake Beach

Park and Playground (52%), Fay Park Playground (38%), Alumni Field (35%), Middle School Grass

Field (31%), and Long Lake Beach Snack Shack (31%).

Of the respondents who used parks and facilities, the highest levels of satisfaction, based on the

sum of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among those who had an opinion, were: 300 King

Street Park Basketball Courts (96%), Jet Field (94%), Alumni Field (93%), 300 King Street Park Castle

in the Trees Playground (92%), Koerper Athletic Field – Soccer (86%), 300 King Street Park Gaga Ball

Pit (85%), 300 King Street Park Walking Path (81%), and Fay Park (80%).

PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES THAT HOUSEHOLDS USED MOST

Based on the sum of their top four choices, the parks and recreation facilities that households have

used most during the past year were: 1) Long Lake Beach and Swimming Area, 2) 300 King Street

Park Castle in the Trees Playground, 3) Fay Park, and 4) Long Lake Beach Park and Playground.

NEED AND SUPPORT FOR RECREATION FACILITIES/AMENITIES

When residents were asked about their need for various recreation facilities and amenities, 47%

indicated the need for a paved walking path/track, and 35% indicated the need for park

shelters/picnic spaces. Other facilities and amenities that respondents indicated a need for

include: bathrooms/changing areas (34%), outdoor fitness/exercise course (33%), community

center (32%), indoor gym with fitness equipment (32%), lighting for outdoor facilities (32%),

aquatic facility – lap/exercise pool (31%), and outdoor amphitheater/performance area (30%).

Of the respondents who indicated a need for facilities and amenities, the highest levels of support

for the Town funding the building, renovation, or expansion of facilities/amenities, based on the

sum of “very supportive” and “supportive” responses among those who had an opinion, were:

cricket field(s) (100%), paved walking path/track (94%), commercial kitchen (93%), aquatic facility

– leisure pool (91%), lighting for outdoor facilities (90%), dog park (89%), fishing dock at Long Lake

(88%), age/ability appropriate playground(s) (87%), aquatic facility – lap/exercise pool (87%), and

maker space(s) (87%).

FACILITIES/AMENITIES THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO HOUSEHOLDS

Based on the sum of their top three choices, the facilities and amenities that are most important

to households are: 1) paved walking path/track, 2) dog park, and 3) aquatic facility – lap/exercise

pool.

PARTICIPATION IN AND RATINGS OF PARKS DEPARTMENT PROGRAMS

Forty percent (40%) of the respondents surveyed indicated their household had participated in

recreation programs offered by the Littleton Parks and Recreation Department during the past 12

months. Of those, 11% indicated they participated in 7 or more programs; 27% participated in 4 to

6 programs, 41% participated in 2 to 3 programs, and 22% participated in one program over the

past 12 months.

Most of the respondents (93%) who participated in programs during the past 12 months rated the

overall quality as “excellent” or “good.”

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

Need for Programs/Events: Respondents were asked to identify if their household had a need for

39 programs and events and rate how well their needs for each were currently being met. The five

programs/events with the highest percentage of households that indicated a need were: outdoor

concerts and performing arts (42%), adult health and fitness classes (42%), adult special interest

classes (32%), adult art classes (31%), and cultural events (29%).

Programming Importance: In addition to assessing the needs for each program/event, ETC

Institute also assessed the importance that residents placed on each. Based on the sum of

respondents’ top four choices, the most important programs/events to residents are: adult health

and fitness classes (21%), outdoor concerts and performing arts (18%), adult art classes (15%), and

adult special interest classes (14%). 

Priorities for Programming Investments: The Priority Investment Rating (PIR) was developed by

ETC Institute to provide organizations with an objective tool for evaluating the priority that should

be placed on parks and recreation programs. The PIR equally weights (1) the importance that

residents place on programs and (2) how many residents have unmet needs for the program.

Details regarding the methodology for this analysis are provided in Section 2 of this report.

Based the Priority Investment Rating (PIR), the following five programs/events were rated as high

priorities for investment:

• Outdoor concerts and performing arts (PIR=189)

• Adult health and fitness classes (PIR=179)

• Adult art classes (PIR=135)

• Adult special interest classes (PIR=129)

• Cultural events (PIR=1126)

Recommended Priorities. In order to help the Town identify investment priorities, ETC Institute

conducted a Usage-Satisfaction analysis. This analysis examined the usage of parks and facilities by

residents and the level of satisfaction with each. By identifying services of high usage and low

satisfaction, the analysis identified which parks and facilities will have the most impact on overall

satisfaction in the future. If the Town wants to improve its overall satisfaction rating for parks and

facilities, the Town should prioritize investments in items with the highest Usage-Satisfaction ratings.

Details regarding the methodology for the analysis are provided in Section 4 of this report.