The results of the recent ReadEx survey about future events in Stillwater told the City Councilmembers that the majority of businesses and residents want some sort of summer festival — but they're split when it comes to what exactly that should look like.
“We asked a bit about how a replacement for Lumberjack Days should look, and basically half the community said they want one smaller than Lumberjack Days and the other half wants something the same size or larger,” Michele Hanson of ReadEx told the council. “This is your biggest dilemma right here, because you have no clear answer about where to go.”
While 50 percent of residents wanted something smaller, the survey says, 41 percent of the businesses in town support a smaller event.
On average, the participants said they didn't feel inconvenienced by past events. Those who were inconvenienced said traffic and a lack of parking were the biggest issues.
As for what residents would support for a replacement LJD event, it was all about kids’ events, fireworks, food vendors, smaller/local acts, lumberjack exhibitions and a parade. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed also said they'd like to see a marathon, bicycle race or a water show.
FUN FACT: One percent of those surveyed said they want a Lumberjack Day's replacement to go down in January.
Nearly twice as many support concerts by smaller/local acts (83 percent) as opposed to big-name acts (43 percent), Hanson said, but how someone perceives big-name act is ambiguous.
Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they would like to see a mix of event sizes in Stillwater, including one large “draw,” and several smaller events that focus on locals — just shy of 80 percent say they think Stillwater has "about the right amount of events."
The council set a workshop meeting for March 21 to further discuss replacement events.
The Six Objectives of the Survey:
- Evaluate community preferences for a summer festival;
- Identify the maximum acceptable impact of events on neighborhoods, businesses and city resources;
- Identify the kinds of events desired by the community;
- Determine which neighborhoods and commercial districts are appropriate venues for events that use public resources ,streets, sidewalks and parks;
- Help the Council determine the maximum number of allowable events in a year, and decide whether multiple substantially similar events should be allowed, and if so, at what frequency;
- Help the Council form a comprehensive events policy.
Takeaways from LJD Replacement Event Survey
- Two in three community members support the creation of a replacement event for LJD in the future;
- Community is divided about whether the event should be smaller or the same/larger
- Residents are slightly more likely than businesses to want something smaller
- Those who are the least likely to have attended LJD in the past 4 years or to have spent money if they did attend events are the ones who are most likely to support a smaller event
- Nearly twice as many support a concert by smaller/local acts as big name acts
- More support it being held downtown than at another local park
- July is the month preferred by the most
Survey Results about Events in General:
- Two in three community members would like to see a mix of event sizes in Stillwater, including one large “draw” and several smaller events that focus on local residents;
- Four in five think Stillwater typically has about the right amount of events;
- Most agree that past events have had a positive impact on the city and its business community;
- On average, they felt the inconvenience of past events was minimal/non-existent to them personally;
- Traffic and lack of parking were the biggest inconveniences A majority support each type of event being held downtown; some events could be in other local parks, too;
- Few want events in their own neighborhood.
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Of the 2,000 surveys sent out, 1,105 participants responded for a 55 percent response rate. The survey was done from Dec. 11, 2012 through Jan. 24, 2013. Source: ReadEx Community Events Survey.
The survey was conducted by mail. ReadEx first sent out an alert letter letting participants know they would recieve a a survey packet with a letter from the mayor and a postage-paid reply envelope. A similar followup survey packet was later sent out to those who didn't respond.
Last July, the city council unanimously approved $15,150 for ReadEx to conduct a public survey to gain feedback on what a future summer festival in Stillwater should look like. Funds for the survey came from the lodging tax.