Community survey shows overwhelming support for parks, open space, affordable housing, improving traffic and preserving the residential character and architecture of Park Hill.
By Cara DeGette, Editor, GPHN
In September, the board of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. contracted with the Boulder-based survey research firm National Research Center (NRC). Specifically, GPHC was interested in conducting a scientifically sound survey to gauge the opinions of the 30,000 residents of the neighborhood on several hot topics.
According to GPHC Treasurer Heather Shockey, the reason for the survey was two-fold:
“The Board felt that now would be a good time to invest in a statistically valid survey in order to, one: ensure that the Board’s positions are aligned with resident expectations – not just the loudest voices – and two: use data to inform the Board’s strategic priorities.”
Of 2,000 invitations mailed to a random selection of households, 308 completed the survey, which was conducted by the NRC. (Note: The research firm anticipated a 10 percent response rate; the actual response was much higher, at 16 percent.) Among the findings from the respondents:
- Three-fourths want the Park Hill Golf Course land to remain entirely green space/park or golf course.
- 9 in 10 support increased parks and green spaces and preserving the architectural character and style of the community.
- Three-quarters would like the community to focus on improving traffic safety over the coming two years.
- More than 8 in 10 prefer keeping Park Hill a mostly residential community.
- Only 1 in 10 feel they have excellent or good access to affordable quality housing.
(Note: The following is the summary of the survey and results as presented by the Boulder-based National Research Center.)
Survey Background and Summary
Several months ago, Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. contracted with National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) to administer a survey of Park Hill households to gauge residents’ opinions about current and future decisions impacting the community and to inform the Board’s strategic priorities, policies, and overall direction.
The Greater Park Hill Community Neighborhood Survey was administered online to a random selection of households in the community. A total of 2,000 invitations were mailed; 308 surveys were completed online [and a few in person] for a response rate of 16 percent.
Results were weighted using the population norms (based on Census data) to reflect the appropriate percent of all adults (18 years or older) living in Greater Park Hill. Weighting is a best practice in survey research to adjust for potential non-response bias and ensure that the demographic characteristics of the survey respondents mirror as closely as possible the overall population. The margin of error is plus or minus six percentage points around any given percent for all respondents.
When a table for a question that only permitted a single response does not total to exactly 100 percent, it is due to the customary practice of rounding values to the nearest whole number.
Highlights: Traffic, Preservation, Parks
According to survey results, the GPHC is a highly favorable a place to live and raise children. However, residents were cautious with their ratings for sense of community, especially among the youngest residents and Hispanic residents.
Renters and residents in attached dwellings rated aspects of quality of life lower than owners and residents in detached houses. Residents in ZIP code 80220 tended to rate Park Hill as a place to retire and the sense of community higher than residents in other ZIP codes.
Many residents expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of transportation in the community. Safety from traffic, speed of traffic, traffic flow and access to light rail were among the least favorable characteristics of the community.
Fittingly, almost three-quarters of respondents would like the community to focus on improving traffic safety over the coming two years. About three in five respondents felt improving traffic congestion and decreasing traffic speed and volume should have focus as well. The oldest residents in the community placed more importance on improving these traffic issues than younger ones. A similar pattern of assigning higher importance to improving traffic issues was seen among residents in ZIP codes 80207/80217 compared to those in 80220.
Preserving the architectural character and style of Park Hill also was seen as essential or very important by three-quarters of respondents. Residents aged 35 years or older and those who were not white place a higher priority on this focus area.
Looking toward the future of the community, about 9 in 10 respondents supported a future that increased parks and green spaces and preserved the architectural character and style of the community.
More than 8 in 10 respondents preferred keeping Park Hill a mostly residential community. About four in five respondents supported bringing in business to the community yet fewer respondents (about three in five) supported increasing mixed-use development.
While only 1 in 10 respondents felt they had excellent or good access to affordable quality housing, only 2 in 10 supported allowing the development of additional luxury apartments and condos. In fact, at least three-quarters of respondents felt there were too few housing options for moderate and lower income workers in the community. Instead, 6 in 10 respondents supported development of additional apartments and condos that could be more affordable to lower- and moderate-income households.
In regards to terminating or modifying the easement and changing the zoning for the Park Hill Golf Course land, three-quarters of respondents prefer the land remain entirely some kind of green space/park or golf course.
About one-quarter were open to the land being used as a park with amenities such as playgrounds, picnic shelters, trails, recreation equipment or courts. Slightly more (about 3 in 10) were receptive to the land being used as open green space with trails for walking or biking, or mix of uses such as a park or open space along with some kind of development that would include housing and retail.
Only 1 percent of respondents would like to see the land developed solely with housing and retail. Almost half of respondents would like to leave the land as 100 percent open green space with 0 percent development. About one-quarter of respondents felt 75 percent open space and 25 percent development would be acceptable and a further 25 percent felt an even split of open space versus development was acceptable.
Few differences of opinion in regards to changes to the Park Hill Golf Course land were found by respondent subgroups, though renters and the youngest respondents (18-34 years old) were more likely to favor some kind of development with housing and retail than owners and the oldest respondents (55-plus). Residents in ZIP codes 80207/80216 were also more likely to favor development with housing and retail than residents in 80220.
It is important to note that, generally, those who voice “strong” support for or opposition to an initiative have a tendency to maintain their stance regardless of other factors or information. However, opinions of those who “somewhat” support or oppose an action could be swayed by additional information. Decision-makers will want to take into consideration both the “extreme” and “persuadable” groups of respondents when deliberating possible courses of action.
Editor’s note: The complete 55-page survey results includes responses and comparisons by age, race, ethnicity and housing type, and methodology and can be reviewed at greaterparkhill.org. Check back next month for additional details, including how GPHC leadership plans to incorporate the findings of the survey into strategic priorities for the coming year. Share your thoughts on the findings via a letter to the editor. All letters should include first and last name and contact number for verification and should be emailed by Dec. 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org.