Ironton kids would prefer water park

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

The answer is: water parks.

The question was what kind of park do the children of Ironton want.

And to find out the answer, the city teamed up with the Ironton schools to survey students on exactly what type of parks they would like to see in the city.

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Mayor John Elam got the results of the survey last week and presented it to city council.

“A few weeks ago, we worked with the Ironton City Schools to see what type of recreation school-age children would like to see,” he said.

The results from their first to 10th choices were: a water park, a skate park, a dance and recreation center, a mini-golf course, more sports tournaments, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a horseshoe and corn hole park, an arts and crafts center and lastly, shuffleboard courts.

“The water park was overwhelming at number one,” Elam said.

Of the 799 students who voted in the survey, 314 voted for that option. It was the most popular choice among elementary, junior high and high school categories.

The next most popular was a skate park with 140 votes, which was the second most popular choice with junior high and high school students. Among the elementary students, the second most popular choice was a dance and recreation center. The least popular was shuffleboard courts, which got only two votes.

Elam said he had already spoken to City Recreation Director Brett Thomas and they have spoken about making changes.

Thomas said he wasn’t surprised by the results since there has been a lot of talk about people wanting a water-related park.

He said he was surprised by the popularity of the dance and rec center.

“We may have not thought about doing something like a dance hall type-thing, but knowing that is something the kids would like to see, we can see what we can do financially about doing something like that,” he said.

And he added there is a misconception about a water park. It doesn’t mean a big one with tubes but rather a splash pad where jets of water come up and cool off people.

“The whole survey helps us out tremendously to try and determine what the city can do,” he said. “There are a lot of positives we got out of this survey.”

Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance said the survey was completed with the aid of a computer program the school system already had in place.

“I told him it could save time and gather data,” Nance said. “Schools are all about data-driven decisions. So why not make a data-driven decision based on programs for school students?”

Thomas said the survey was well worth the effort the school put into it.