Grand County Needs Assessment- Recreation, Arts and Culture
For the Grand Foundation
Grand County, CO Colorado
According to the Grand County Needs Assessment Committee, “Quality recreational, arts and cultural opportunities help to make a community more than the product of its business, traffic and hard work. Leisure activities vastly improve the quality of life of residents, serving both to entertain and increase social networks. Grand County is known as a recreation magnet with the special draw of skiing, mountain trails, equestrian and lake sports. Needs assessments in other Colorado mountain resort communities confirm the importance of recreational amenities to the quality of life of residents.”
While recreational opportunities were important to Grand County residents (37 percent consider them essential and another 37 percent consider them very important), adding more amenities was not identified as a need by a majority of residents in any area of the county (deemed essential by 20 percent of assessment respondents). Arts, culture and leisure activities were important but were not considered to be as high of a priority. Recreational opportunities, trails and parks were considered to be necessary by more residents in Eastern and Central than in Western Grand County.
English-speaking focus group participants and second homeowners all greatly valued the outdoor recreational opportunities available to them, with a long list including golf, hiking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, horseback riding, dog racing and wildlife viewing. In the focus groups and interviews, only second homeowners commented on the lack of cultural activities available in Grand County. When asked about opportunities to attend arts and cultural activities, of total respondents only 15 percent thought they are essential and 31 percent said they are very important.
English as a second language speakers commented on the “tranquil” environment of Grand County, but did not discuss participation in any recreational activities.
The Needs Assessment group commented that “It is one thing to appreciate the recreational opportunities that the expansive mountain environment provides, and it is another to value recreation facilities and programs offered by local government or the private sector.” They found that a majority of residents felt that recreational facilities, programs and class activities for youth were less than good. The ratings for recreation facilities and programs were not up to par with ratings given by residents in comparably sized communities across the country. The addition of a recreation center in Fraser since this assessment was completed may affect that opinion today.
When asked about the importance of improving the amount of restaurants in the county, only 10 percent considered that essential and 29 percent thought it important. On the subject of shopping opportunities, 11 percent thought improvement or increase in that category to be essential, 27 percent thought it very important.
Regarding key opportunities in this area, the committee commented: “Although more recreation amenities are not the top priority among residents, existing facilities and programs, especially for youth, are not perceived to be of the highest quality. Consider digging deeper to identify the kinds of amenities that would raise the current offerings to a higher plane, especially for youth.”
They also suggested that we need to “consider how improved amenities would be viewed by those who would financially support recreation districts in the county to test the willingness to pay for improvements.”
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