Editorial: Have your say on city parks, senior issues

What kind of parks would you like to see in Columbus?

How well is our region meeting the needs of senior citizens?

Local residents have an opportunity to be heard on these questions, and two invitations to have their say.

The Columbus Department of Parks and Recreation is asking the public to comment in its strategic plan survey. You have until Dec. 17 to do so at imagineyourcolumbusparks.com.

Survey results from the public will help the parks department shape public parks and recreational facilities for the next 10 or more years. Hearing from the most residents possible will give the city a better sense of how people use local parks and what residents would like to see.

The survey asks people whether they use each individual park property, and to rate the condition of each. The survey also wants to know how the use of parks can be increased, and how residents would like to learn about park offerings and activities. The survey asks users to rate the kinds of parks and rec activities they most enjoy, and how well the city is meeting those needs.

Significantly, the survey also wants to know what kinds of activities and amenities residents would most like to see at the former Fair Oaks Mall, when, along with Columbus Regional Health, the city renovates that facility to become NexusPark. The survey also asks residents how they think local parks should be funded, as well as how residents would spend park money if it were up to them.

This is a thorough attempt on the city’s part to learn all it can from the public about how parks are serving the community and how they could be doing better. Take the survey and let them know. It will improve the chances that the disc golf course, skatepark, dog park or (insert your favorite) you’d like to see becomes a reality.

Separately, Thrive Alliance is surveying people age 60 and over to better understand the needs of older adults in the region it serves, which includes Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson and Jennings counties.

The Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults helps Thrive Alliance plan and allocate resources throughout the region, and the more people who participate, the better Thrive Alliance can target its mission. If your are 60 or older, you can take this survey by going to polco.us/indiana21.

This survey is county-specific and will ask users to rate various aspects of quality of life in their community, characteristics of the place they live, and how they would rate overall services provided to older adults in their community.

Also, the survey asks users to rate how informed they feel about services and activities available to older adults, whether they are feeling economic pressure, and the kinds of challenges that older adults may be facing.

This survey asks critical questions that inquire — confidentially — about individual well-being and personal experiences in order to get a better understanding of the needs of senior citizens in our community. Seniors should take this opportunity to share information that can make a vital difference for themselves and for other older adults.

Too often we hear cynical views that government doesn’t listen. That’s not the case here. They’re asking. Tell them what you think.