Marshall parks survey shows high support for trails, outdoor ice

MARSHALL — The results are in for a parks and recreation survey the city of Marshall conducted in October. Based on responses from roughly 300 Marshall residents, it looks like there would be a lot of support for parks and recreation projects, city staff said. In addition, a majority of survey respondents supported the idea of extending Marshall’s city sales tax to pay for parks projects.

Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said the survey results will be used to help the city plan future projects.

“We wanted to ensure the work we were doing would be supported by the public,” said Hanson said.

Hanson and Don Lifto of the Baker Tilly consulting firm presented the results of the survey to the Marshall City Council on Tuesday night.

“The results turned out to be very encouraging,” Lifto said.

Lifto said Baker Tilly conducted a phone survey of 303 registered voters living in Marshall. Survey respondents were asked their opinions about several different ideas for improvements to Marshall’s parks and other amenities, as well as how they thought the city should fund the improvements.

Based on the survey results, the top amenities Marshall residents said they would support included trail expansions, an indoor play area for kids, an outdoor ice sheet at the Red Baron Arena and Expo, and lighting at the city’s baseball/softball complex. All of those proposals received support from 70% or more of survey respondents.

People who took the survey also said they supported the city partnering with the Marshall Area YMCA for community projects like senior citizen programs or a family entertainment spot like a bowling alley.

“A key part of the survey was garnering public input regarding different funding options the city of Marshall is exploring to help pay for current or new amenities,” Hanson said.

When presented with different ideas on how to pay for future parks and recreation projects, survey respondents favored a half-cent sales tax rather than increasing property taxes.

“The community’s reaction to an extension of the current sales tax was generally good, with a 74% positive response rate,” Hanson said.

While the survey didn’t ask Marshall residents about updating or replacing the Marshall Aquatic Center, Lifto and Hanson said it was still on people’s minds. Survey respondents were given a chance to suggest additional amenities and recreation programs the city could offer.

“The most common response was swimming pools and water parks,” Hanson said.

Now that the survey results are in, the city has some next steps to consider. If the council decides to extend the city’s sales tax, it will need to approve a resolution and bring it to the Minnesota Legislature before Jan. 31, Hanson said. Hanson said she also planned to meet with members of the Marshall business community before the end of January to talk about the survey results and the city sales tax.

In a Tuesday news release, Hanson said a complete report of the community survey is available by request. Members of the public can contact Hanson with questions regarding the survey.


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