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At its Monday meeting the Mount Ayr city council got its first peek at a summary of preliminary results from the recent survey to determine community interest in a wellness facility.
(Total results from the survey have not yet been made public by the Wellness Committee.)
The summary, provided by the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) at the University of Northern Iowa, included this statement:
“IDM and the [Wellness] Committee received a clear message from respondents that something must be done to improve the overall recreation and swimming options for the County. The respondents conveyed a clear sense of urgency for moving forward with some form of pool-related project.”
According to the summary, 573 county residents responded to the survey. Of that number, 67.4 percent reported a Mount Ayr Zip Code and two-thirds have lived in the county 20-plus years.
The results revealed a general dissatisfaction with current recreational opportunities in the county. A total of 45.9 percent responded as somewhat or not at all satisfied while only 20.3 percent stated they were somewhat or very satisfied.
“There was a great deal of consensus among respondents that Mount Ayr’s current pool is in need of major improvements and that something should be done to improve public swimming as soon as possible,” the summary stated.
Consensus on how best to proceed, however, was lacking.
Approximately 40 percent stated they would use either an outdoor or indoor pool if either was offered. Another 30.5 percent stated a preference for an outdoor pool with only 15.8 percent preferring an indoor facility.
The recreational options gaining the highest levels of support included an outdoor pool (74.8 percent), an outdoor splash pad (58.3 percent), indoor walking/running track (56 percent), cardio equipment (55.4 percent) and Cross Fit/exercise classes (48.9 percent).
Respondents were also asked to consider their support for facilities combining different options, namely a seasonal outdoor aquatics facility (outdoor pool, splash pad, etc.) or a year-round wellness facility (indoor pool, walking/running track, fitness equipment, etc).
The survey results were broken down by the age of the respondents. (See chart.)
The summary noted, however, that across all ages of respondents “71 percent reported a strong need for at least one amenity other than an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, or a splash pad (i.e. walking track, gym, cardio equipment, etc.)”
One idea that emerged from the survey was a third option not previously considered by the Wellness Committee.
According to the summary, “Committee members … had not considered combining an indoor track and exercise amenities with some type of hybrid wellness/aquatics center. Committee members suggested that if done properly and cost effectively, it could create a practical but unique hybrid solution that is more of a win-win for all parties involved.”
The Wellness Committee is currently in the process of assessing the feasibility and true costs of options associated with the possibility of a hybrid facility. Their plan is to hold a “public information expo” in the fall to share the results of their research and to answer questions about all options.
Preference for type of facility by age
Ages Indoor Outdoor
<18 81.3% 62.6%
18 – 24 68.0% 64.0%
25 – 34 61.9% 78.6%
35 – 44 48.2% 78.0%
45 – 54 54.0% 81.0%
55 – 64 52.7% 80.2%
65 – 74 59.0% 77.1%
75> 46.2% 33.4%