New Recreation Director Wants To Gauge Park Use

The township Advisory Recreation Council discussed how township park usage could be measured.

Responding to criticism leveled at a recent proposed park, the newly minted director of the township Parks & Recreation Department said he wants to come up with a better way to gauge township park use.

Director William “Beau” Byrtus said at the February 10 virtual meeting of the township Recreation Advisory Council that there does not exist a solid way to gauge how often parks are used.

The issue arose during consideration of a proposed “Grandparents Park” on Willow Avenue, near New Brunswick Road.

Area residents said a new park was not needed because there are existing parks in the township whose use is very light. The Township Council has abandoned the park proposal in light of stiff public opposition.

“I want to try to get some good metrics on park use,” Byrtus said.

“We have pocket parks that are really sort of neighborhood utilized, then you have larger parks with sports fields in them and you have particular draws for them,” he said. “There’s not one good way” to measure usage.

Council chairman Keith Stewart asked if it might be helpful to ask residents who participate in recreation department programs which parks they use.

“I like that idea,” Byrtus said.

“There are different ways to do it,” he said. One way, he said, “will be a survey, and that needs to be very short. People are busy and we want to make it as non-cumbersome but as exhaustive as we can, because we want real data.”

“The other thing is having people out at the parks at different times with a clicker,” he said.

Byrtus said he still has to “work out the methodology, and how we can get real, informed data.”

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