Residents say they want the city to build a skateboard park

While most residents say they want the city to build a skateboard park, few of those same residents say they will use it.The apparent contradiction provoked laughter during last week's Seminole council meeting, where Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida presented the findings of a survey the college's Florida Institute of Government performed in July. how to clean a skateboard

The goal was to find out what taxpayers think the city's priorities should be and to spot potential problems before they become full-blown.The survey found that 60 percent of the respondents want a skateboard park and 20 percent oppose it.

"It seems to be pretty strong support for that," MacManus said.But 78 percent say they would not use the park if the city builds one.It all has to do with age, MacManus said. The older people are, the less likely they are to use the park although they may see the benefits of having one."

I did feel somewhat vindicated," said John Counts, who has been the lone voice on the council in support of a skateboard park. "It was a good thing. I was pleased that those interviewed and surveyed felt the need for it.

residents say they want the city to build a skateboard park

There is a need out there."Counts said he thinks the strong support comes from residents and business owners wanting kids to have a more structured area to skate than streets, sidewalks and parking lots.

The positive response about the skateboard park, Counts said, indicates that the city has grown up and is willing to create nontraditional services for special populations, like skaters and seniors.The survey also indicated strong support for a new senior center, with 84 percent in favor of it.MacManus, a political science professor, said that about 75 percent of the cities across the country are doing similar surveys.Vice Mayor Dan Hester said the information gleaned from the survey was "wonderful."

The survey allowed a rare opportunity for public officials to get feedback from residents.For the most part, the survey, which 601 people answered, indicated that Seminole's residents are satisfied with the quality of life in the city.

They're concerned about population growth, development and traffic, which, MacManus said, are the top concerns of residents everywhere in Florida.On the good side, she said, fewer people are worried about traffic than in 2002, when Seminole last tapped residents' opinions.

On the down side, she said, juvenile crime appears to be increasing slightly, the city government's ratings have dropped some, and those who ask the city for help are not as pleased as they once were with the speed of the response.While the concern about juvenile crime is a trend across the state, it is nothing Seminole needs to be overly concerned about, MacManus said."It's not a problem here yet," she said.

"It is a warning sign."Similarly, the slippage in the other ratings, while not high and typical of other surveys nationwide, do indicate some trend."Trend analysis is a good warning signal," she said.This year's survey had a section on leisure services that was lacking in the 2002 survey.

It showed that 60 percent of respondents are "very pleased" with the new recreation center and with activities in the city."You have more saying they 'don't know' than that they are dissatisfied," MacManus said.