COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Lakebottom Park is a place many people use for all sorts of recreational activities.
The city of Columbus is considering changes to the park along Cherokee Avenue in Midtown.
Last week, the city and Trees Columbus Inc., asked park users and citizens to weigh in on proposed changes and tree canopy repair.
Trees Columbus Executive Director Dorothy McDaniel has been pleased but not at all surprised by the response to the survey that takes less than 10 minutes to fill out online.
“The response to the survey so far, I am happy to say, has been phenomenal,” she told News 3 on Tuesday. “We have gotten probably five times the numbers of responses we thought we would have at this point.”
Those who use the park regularly say there is a reason more than 1,500 people have gone to the Trees Columbus webpage to fill out the survey, says Tyrone Thomas, a frequent Lakebottom user. He has not yet taken the survey but his wife has.
“I think it’s very important that the citizens of Columbus, Georgia have some input in the park,” Thomas said. “Because if the city went ahead and did it on their own, that’s kinds of like leaving the citizens out.”
Thomas, a 60-year-old retired Columbus police officer, walks in the park three or four times a week. Anne Newland is a frequent Lakebottom Park user and filled out the survey as soon as it became available.
And, like McDaniel, she is not surprised by the survey response.
“A lot of people are enjoying the outdoor spaces and Lakebottom is a phenomenal green space,” she said. “And I think it shows how much it means to the whole community. And that the input they have is really important that the park go in a direction that they feel is a positive one.”
A similar park survey was conducted in Roswell, where just 350 people responded, which speaks well for the Lakebottom inquiry.
One of the things this survey is showing is that not enough is known about the number of users and the frequency of use.
“We don’t know how many people use this park every day,” McDaniel said. “We don’t have a meter. People don’t sign in. And that’s one reason why this survey is so important.”
And as the city considers major changes and a multi-million dollar public-private investment at Lakebottom, knowing more about the park is critical.
And McDaniel pointed to Tuesday morning dog walkers as an example.
“So, folks like these might walk the dog every day,” she said as people walked dogs behind her. “And what they are doing in something that we also suspected that there is no interior trail, but people are just making their own trail along the creek. So, that lets us know that people might want an interior access to walk along a trail on the survey. And that’s one of the questions on the survey, as well.”
Thomas is one of those frequent users.
“Everybody has their different points of view,” Thomas said Tuesday as paused from a long walk. “And when you can combine those and break them down it will make it better for the park as a whole and the citizens of Columbus.”
The survey concludes on July 13. Take the survey here.