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You gotta eat! And other interesting results from the Water Works Community Input Survey

January 28, 2014 by Janette Law

More than 400 people completed the Water Works Community Input Survey, open for several weeks, December 2013 –January 2014. The survey explored the current use of the Water Works site within the Central Riverfront Regional Park, as well as invited community members to share their vision for the future park.

Who goes there?
More than a third of survey respondents (38%) identified themselves as living in the neighborhood – on either side of the Mississippi river – while 62% of respondents were non-residents. Among non-residents, over half (32%) primarily visited the riverfront regional park for fitness or exercise or cultural/tourist experiences.

Overall, the majority of respondents (79%) visit the Central Riverfront at least monthly, with nearly half of residents (48%) making daily sojourns to the regional park. Surprisingly, non-residents were also frequent visitors – 37% visiting at least weekly.

Not surprisingly, the length-of-stay varied. Almost half (48%) of residents say they’re usually just passing through, though nearly as many (42%) say they stay an hour or two per visit. Non-residents are nearly twice as likely as residents to stretch their visit to several hours (20% vs. 11%), but like their resident counterparts, nearly half (42%) take an hour or two to explore.

Like visit duration, how people get to Water Works varies. Most non-residents (57%) drive to the Central Riverfront and only 5% take public transportation. Still, for 27%, bike is the way to go. Residents mostly walk to the area (76%), but are about as likely to drive as bike (13% vs. 11%).

Residents are slightly more likely to enjoy the Central Riverfront with family (75% vs. 72%), while non-residents would visit more often with friends (78% vs. 73%). Surprisingly, respondents overall were more likely to have a pet along (32%) than young kids (26%).

Eating, exploring and entertainment
Food is something all survey respondents have in common. Nearly everyone eats when they get to the Central Riverfront; some 90% or more of residents and non-residents visit restaurants here. Hiking/Exploring (69%) and theater and entertainment (63%) were popular for more than half of all respondents, as are special events for nearly as many (49%).

Residents were more likely to enjoy the theater, museums and classes than non-residents, who were more likely to enjoy hiking, tours and water activities.

We invited respondents to tell us about a perfect summer and winter visit, as well as what would make Water Works a top destination. You can explore these individual stories and comments in the full survey results document.

How key features rate
Respondents ranked its connection to the Mississippi River, historic mill ruins and nature and greenspace as the top three ways in which Water Works is a regionally significant destination. Water Works proximity to St. Anthony Falls and entertainment and dining venues (despite the popularity of restaurants), and First Nation history were not considered as important. Both residents and non-residents agreed that Water Works regional location was by far its least important feature.

Key Features Ranked

Combined

Resident

Non-resident

Connection to Mississippi River

1

1

1

Historic mill/industrial ruins

2

4

2

Nature/greenspace

3

2-Tie

4

Location on St. Anthony Falls

4

2-Tie

3

First Nation history/culture

5

6

5

Proximity to entertainment/dining

6

5

6

Regional location

7

7

7

For complete survey data, including demographics, please download the results pdf.

Major Support for Water Works is Provided by:
Pentair Foundation

With Additional Funding From:
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board | Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation | Many Generous Donors

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