Local rec program to conduct needs survey

Over the next month, the Northwest Ottawa Recreation Authority will be conducting a Recreational Needs Survey of the area. The survey area includes the cities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, Grand Haven, Robinson and Port Sheldon townships; and the Grand Haven Area Public Schools district. NORA officials say the survey will determine the wants and needs of the community. Surveyors will inquire about current satisfaction with facilities, fields and programs, as well as interest in creation of new facilities and expanded program options.
Jul 22, 2011


To perform the survey, NORA has hired two interns from Aquinas College: Anne-Marie Shumaker and Becky Burton. Both students were raised in Grand Haven and graduated from Grand Haven High School.

Shumaker is studying sports management and business administration, and seeking a minor in exercise science. Burton is studying recreation and seeking a minor in theology.

As part of the survey process, the interns applied for a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation to help fund the project, which is a new experience for Burton and Shumaker. In addition to the survey, the interns will organize a Friends of Recreation group of residents who will communicate NORA goals, plans and ideas to the community, as well as raise funds to supplement finances for NORA programs.

Furthermore, Shumaker and Burton will be participating in all areas of NORA functions such as administrative duties, event planning, budgeting, supervision of programs, and creation of outdoor education and Sports Extravaganza classes to be run in the fall.

The survey results will help determine the current status of facilities and programs available, whether recreational needs can be met with these facilities, and whether there is a need for creation of new facilities and expansion of programming.

If there is a need for additional facilities to support growing recreational programs, NORA officials say they will consider the possibility of a centralized recreation complex, according to the wishes of the community. This complex, if needed, could provide accommodation for tournaments, and multiple fields and courts for a large variety of sports and programs.

If it is apparent that recreational needs are growing, NORA will consider proposing a millage in 2012. Information obtained from the survey will be used to determine whether a millage is necessary as an alternate source of funding to expand recreational programming, and whether the proposal is likely to be supported by the community.

The survey will be distributed over the next three weeks in the form of e-mail and random phone calls. If you would like to fill out a survey and are not contacted, visit the NORA website (www.ghaps.org/nora); or stop by the NORA office, 1415 Beechtree St. in Grand Haven, and fill out a survey.


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