UWL City-wide Pool Survey Study by John Kovari


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2016 Future of Memorial Pool Survey

The City hired John Kovari, PhD. of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Political Science & Public Administration to conduct a survey of public opinion about Memorial Pool and its future within the context of overall City needs.  The survey was able to further breakout the opinions of residents in the immediate Memorial Pool neighborhoods as well as the opinions of overall City residents.  The survey was conducted in August 2016 and the results reported in September 2016.  Specific findings of this survey with respect to residents’ preferences and priorities of pool features and amenities have been taken into account in the programming and design sections of this ISG Study.  The survey results also show significant support for the renovation or replacement of Memorial Pool.  This support is logically higher among residents in the Memorial Pool area but the support for Memorial Pool is strong throughout the City.


While there is no need to present the entire survey report as part of this analysis, there are several key items that are relevant to this study.


  • Support for a Replacement Pool of some type
    • Overall respondents:
    • 71.4% favor some version of a pool to replace Memorial Pool
    • 51.2% favor a restoration or replacement pool at the current location
    • 72% of the respondents favoring some type favor the current location
    • Memorial Pool area respondents:
    • 65.7% very or somewhat concerned about closing
    • 20.8% not concerned
  • Support for Allocating Funds to Reopen Memorial Pool
    • Overall respondents:
    • 55.5% strongly or somewhat strongly agree with allocating funds
    • 30.3% somewhat or strongly disagree
    • 14.1% express no opinion
    • Memorial Pool area respondents:
    • Express increasing support of allocating funds
    • Median strength of agreement score increases by over 10%
  • Concern about Memorial Pool Closing
    • All respondents:
    • 49.2% very or somewhat concerned about closing
    • 23.1% not concerned
    • Memorial Pool area respondents:
    • 65.7% very or somewhat concerned about closing
    • 20.8% not concerned
  • Respondents outside the Memorial Pool area
    • 48.4% very or somewhat concerned about closing
  • Program and Feature Preferences and Priorities
    • Swimming lessons is identified as the top priority-65.4%
    • This finding strongly supports the need for a heated pool
    • Outdoor pool is preferred by 62.7% of respondents
  • Diving Boards preferred by 54.3%
  • Other key features include the following:
    • Lap swim lanes
    • Shade structures
    • Lounge chairs
    • Play features such as slides
    • Zero or beach entry area


Overall Takeaways from Survey Report Relevant to this ISG Analysis:

The survey results indicate the importance of some updated version of Memorial Pool both to GENA neighborhood residents and to overall City residents.  It is important to note that the needs indicated a wide range of programs from recreation and leisure needs to swim lessons and exercise programs.  These preferences show a balance of youth and adult use.  It is also important to note that among those supporting some type of replacement there is support for a smaller more cost effective pool option.  All of these elements and options are incorporated into programs, designs, and options discussed in this report.


The survey also identifies significant support for project collaboration between the City and other private and public entities and organizations.  While the survey includes collaboration in discussions of a new aquatic center, the support for collaboration is relevant to Memorial Pool and all Parks and Recreation programming in the future.  Community collaboration in Memorial Pool will be important in optimizing the facilities and programming in a new Memorial Pool.


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