As the Community Center Feasibility Task Force prepared to transition to Phase II of the study process it was determined that a second statistically valid survey should be conducted. In part, this was in recognition of the fact that the Phase I survey was fielded just as the community was beginning to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Task Force wanted to gauge whether the pandemic had caused any shift in sentiment on the community center issue over time. It was also to be able to share and obtain input and measure the level of support on critical components associated with a community center, such as possible locations and funding options.
A statistically valid telephone survey of 300 randomly selected registered Upper Arlington voters was conducted in mid-November. Once the telephone survey had been completed, an online version was made available to all residents in the community, yielding 1,609 responses. While the data gathered from the online version serves only as supplemental information, the responses obtained were generally consistent with those yielded by the telephone survey.
- High Level of Awareness – Awareness of the Community Center Feasibility Task Force study process is very high, with 70.5% of respondents indicating that they had heard some or a lot of information about the study.
- Strong Support for a Community Center – Consistent with both the survey findings from the 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan and Phase I of the Task Force study, there continues to be a strong desire for the City to pursue a community center, with 75.1% of respondents stating that they were supportive.
- Support for Including Senior Center Programming and Facilities – There is strong support for including Senior Center programming and facilities within a community center, at 69.6%. A breakdown of demographics within the survey responses highlighted a service gap that has long been suspected – many older adults do not use the current Senior Center, and a multi-generational community center could present the City with the opportunity to bridge that gap by providing a broader range of facilities and programming within one convenient location.
- Preferred Location Identified – The former Macy’s site at Kingsdale is the preferred location. A “split sample” line of questioning was used to determine if knowledge of construction costs impacted the views of respondents. When no cost information was provided, respondent support was 82.1%. When respondents were informed that the approximate cost for a facility at Kingsdale would be $50 million, the level of support declined but remained strong, at 74.8%.
- Support for Revenue Generating Office Space Within a Community Center – 68.3% of respondents expressed strong support for including office space within a community center building as a means to offset operating and maintenance costs.
- Voter Support on a Ballot Issue – The survey indicated a strong level of support from respondents for a community center ballot issue if it did not require an increase in taxes, and a decline in support should a tax increase be necessary:
- 74.55% of voters would support the City issuing up to $55 million in bonds–without raising any new taxes–to construct a community center
- Voter support of a 30-year, 1/2 mill property tax increase is less but still positive at 63.7%. However, it should be noted that this is one area where feedback from the online survey resulted in notably lower voter support, at 54%.
The survey results in their entirety can be accessed here: