By Mike De Felice
Special to Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – Time is running out for park-goers to tell city officials how much they enjoy the parks, suggest ways to improve them and indicate whether they would support a levy to fund park expansion.
An online survey, part of the Imagine Port Orchard program to get community input on city projects, remains open through the end of June.
“We want to know what residents expect from their parks, which ones they go to and what activities they enjoy doing there,” said Keri Sallee, a long-range planner for the City of Port Orchard’s Department of Community Development.
“We ask people to rank the importance of park trails, ball fields and playgrounds,” she added. The survey focuses on six city parks considered to be the most popular or newest.
“If you want more parks with amenities, we need to know that. And we need to know if the community is willing to contribute towards that,” the planner said.
Currently, there is not a department within city government dedicated to parks operations. The passage of a levy would open the door to funding a Parks and Recreation Department, Sallee added.
Parks maintenance now falls under the purview of Public Works, which is responsible for road projects, water and sewer, and city development projects, Sallee explained. “The public works director can maintain parks, but he doesn’t have the staff or the budget to devote to park development,” she said.
“The benefit of having a parks department is that parks would be the priority. [The department] would be an advocate that would aggressively seek grants for additional park acquisitions, recreational programming and new equipment and facilities,” she added.
The survey is open to all park users. Survey takers don’t need to be Port Orchard residents to participate, she said.
The survey consists of eight questions and should take 10 minutes or less to complete, Sallee said. It is shorter than a similar park survey conducted last year.
The questionnaire can be accessed at Imagineportorchard.com/poparks.