St. Augustine Galimore Center and Pool Research Project:
Summary Statement (14 May 2012: Revised 29 May 2012)
Using objective, non-partisan research methods, we identified dominant public opinion regarding future use of the Willie Galimore Center and Pool located at 33 Riberia Street.
Summary Findings from All 3 Phases
1. Strong support for opening pool and swim lessons persisted across neighborhoods, income brackets, races, and familial structure. In both surveys, fixing the pool was the top preference among respondents for physical facility improvements. In both surveys, swim lessons and open/public swim time were the top preferences for activities. What was striking was that there was strong support for opening the pool and swim lessons even among those who said they would not use the pool were it re-opened. In other words, they value the pool as a community asset, not just a personal resource. Part of the reason for this support is concern for water safety, as expressed by survey respondents and focus group participants.
2. Strong support for more activities in the Center. Other than swimming-related activities, the top 5 preferences in the universal survey include 1) “Education for kids (tutoring, college prep, summer reading, etc.),” 2) “exercise classes (fitness training, yoga, self-defense, etc.),” and 3) “certification programs (life guard, CPR, baby sitters course, etc.)”
3. Overall, consistent preference given to community use and public access. In addition to supporting the renovation of the pool, swim lessons and open swim, and education and exercise opportunities, the majority of respondents support “reduced or free access for low-income people or groups”.
4. 20% of the respondents in the universal survey did not know a community pool had existed in Lincolnville. This may indicate that marketing of the Center and Pool to area residents may be a good avenue to increasing use and revenue.
Interviews and focus groups found:
1. People throughout St. Augustine seem to feel that community centers and pools are important community resources.
2. Participants stressed the importance of making community centers vibrant and accessible to all people.
3. In particular, there was strong support for revitalizing the Galimore Center and Pool.
4. Many people expressed concern over costs and management of the Galimore Center.
Survey I (stratified sample survey): Administered in five locations. 404 were completed (Appendix A). Analysis of this sample (Appendix B 1-3) shows:
1. Strong public support for more activities in the Center. This attitude was held regardless of where the respondents live, their income, or whether or not they have kids. It was also strong among the sub-sample of tourists who completed the survey.
a. 89% stated they would use the Center were more activities offered.
2. Strong public support for re-opening the Pool, regardless of where the respondents live, their income, or whether or not they have kids. It was also strong among the sub-sample of tourists who completed the survey.
a. Nearly 80% stated they would use the pool were it re-opened
b. “Swim lessons” and “open swim” were the most common activities wanted.
3. Strong support for features of a Business Model. These trends persisted across all residency neighborhoods, parental statuses (children-no children), and income brackets.
a. 87% stated they would pay a user fee.
b. 62% stated they would “pay more in taxes or City fees to fund the renovation and operation of this community Center and Pool”.
c. Education programs for kids and adults ranked third and fourth, respectively, among ten options for activities. This can include distance learning, job training, job placement, and so on.
4. 95% of the respondents stated they support providing “reduced or free access for low-income people or groups”.
Survey II (universal survey): Sent to all residents and business owners who receive a City water bill. 799 respondents (10% response rate among the 75% who send in their payment).
1. Of the 799 respondents:
a. 118 (15%) were from Lincolnville
b. 92 (12%) were from Downtown
c. 155 (19%) were from North of Downtown
d. 116 (15%) were from Davis Shores/Lighthouse (and Island within City limits)
e. 114 (14%) were from West St. Augustine (within City limits)
f. 82 (10%) were from West Augustine (outside City limits)
g. The remaining 15% did not provide residency or could not be determined
2. 62% stated they would use the Center were more activities offered (excluding the 11% who did not respond).
3. 53% stated they would use the Pool were it re-opened (excluding the 9% who did not respond).
4. In all identified neighborhoods, the majority of respondents said they were willing to pay user fees; in most, they were willing to pay more in taxes.
a. 66% stated they would pay a user fee (excluding the 20% who did not respond).
b. 51% of those who answered the taxation question stated they would “pay more in taxes or City fees to fund the renovation and operation of this community Center and Pool”. This was not consistent across neighborhoods–with West Augustine (outside City limits) having a 43% rate of yes responses and Downtown having a 47% and the majority in other neighborhoods responding yes–or income brackets–with the majority in income brackets of 20,000 or more responding yes and those in lower income brackets responding no.
5. 77% of the respondents stated they support providing “reduced or free access for low-income people or groups” (excluding the 21% who did not respond).
6. 20% did not know prior to taking this survey that a community pool existed in Lincolnville.
Correspondence between Surveys I and II.
– Support for the opening and using center and pool persisted across neighborhoods, income, and familial structure.
— The top 3 Facility preferences in both surveys were:
— “Fix and re-open the outdoor pool” (average of 3.0/5);
— “Add outdoor athletic facilities”; and
— “Add indoor athletic facilities”
– 73% of the respondents in the universal survey listed fixing the pool as one of their top 5 preferences. This persisted across residency neighborhoods.
— The top 3 Activity preferences in both surveys were:
— “Swim lessons” (average of 1.8/5);
— “Open/public swim time”; and
— “Education for kids”
– Survey findings also corresponded with findings in focus groups, interviews, and observations.
This data cannot address many important issues. Follow-up research could focus on the specifics of operations and management. For instance, the exact programs people want and the amount of user fee people willing to pay.
Principle Investigator: Dr. Casey Welch
Co-Investigators: Lauren Ruotolo, Sarah Williamson, Melanie Graham