During 2013, the City Manager’s Office had an aggressive list of over 100 goals planned. One of these goals was to assess the long term facility needs of the Highland Park Senior Center, currently located at 54 Laurel Avenue. The first steps were to conduct surveys to gain input as to whether members and residents feel the current facility is adequate or if a new location is needed. The information below summarizes the responses to the questions regarding the positive and negative aspects of the current facility.
The first survey was facilitated through Survey Monkey and was sent to all Senior Center member email addresses on June 25, 2013. This included 853 email addresses, which theoretically reached 1,143 members. The second survey was distributed through the July 15, 2013 edition of the Highlander, in which all residents of Highland Park are potential respondents. The survey results in the Highlander were retrieved via postcard to City Hall in which 773 were tallied.
The member survey that was sent out on June 25, 2013 was directed to current members of the Senior Center and contained 52 questions, in which the last two questions were comment-based.
Based on the respondents, the majority of people who are members of the Senior Center are between the ages of 75-85. The most popular reasons for having a membership at the Senior Center are due to the discounted tickets to area performances and the various activities that the Senior Center offers. When observing the satisfaction level for the location of the Senior Center at 54 Laurel Avenue; there was an even response from poor to excellent.
When analyzing the facilities of the Senior Center at 54 Laurel, the majority of responses lay between below average and average. The questions regarding this topic focused on the space available for programs, the status of the furniture and equipment, accessibility for seniors to maneuver around the building, and the overall satisfaction of the facilities at 54 Laurel. There was also an overwhelming majority of responses giving the Senior Center a rating of poor for the parking availability. There was also a strong majority of members who believe that the hours of operations, 8am-5pm, are average.
The last question allowed for additional comments about the Senior Center and the majority of responses revolved around:
- Poor parking at the 54 Laurel Avenue location
- Senior Center programs would be much better if the facility was at the Highland Park Country Club
- Senior centers in other communities are more adept for senior needs than the facilities in Highland Park
- The Senior Center at 54 Laurel Avenue has a great aesthetic, but the facilities are outdated
For a more detailed report, click here.
The second survey was sent to the residents of Highland Park, through the Highlander, contained 6 questions, of which one allowed for comments. Of all the surveys that were distributed, 773 were returned.
Of the residents that responded to the survey, the results show that a large portion are above the age of 50 and are aware of the Senior Center that is located at 54 Laurel Avenue. Even though many people meet the age requirement and are aware of the Senior Center facilities, only about half have utilized the services, and many only used the services once or twice. Many residents explained why they have only used the Senior Center a couple times or never at all. Their responses were placed into 10 categories. The five categories that had the most responses were:
- Parking Problems
- Too Busy to Attend*
- Do not Consider Themselves Seniors at age 50*
- Not Interested
- Have not Received Information about the Senior Center
With regards to the location of the Senior Center, many residents believe 54 Laurel Avenue is convenient. However, of the residents that responded to the last question, concerning the status of the current facility, over half deem that it is not adequate for senior needs.
* It should be noted these two responses reflect the fact that the definition of Senior Citizen has no hard definition. Many residents continue in the workforce until at least age 62. Anecdotal feedback has indicated those still in the workforce are interested in programs provided by the Senior Center but are unable since the Center’s hours of operation are during business hours Monday through Friday.
The survey results have been presented to the Highland Park City Council and the next steps of the process are under discussion, to include participation of Senior Center members and others in the community.
For a more detailed report, click here.