How Building a New Community Center Increased Resident Satisfaction in Estes Park

Estes Park, Colorado’s inclusive design process leads to the construction of a well-loved Community Center.

In 2018, Estes Park, Colorado’s new Community Center had almost 10 times the number of visitors as there are residents. This staggering number of visitors is a testament to the thoughtful and inclusive process that went into the Center’s design.

Estes Park regularly conducts The National Community Survey (The NCS) to gather feedback from community members. Since the construction of the center, residents feel that recreational opportunities have significantly improved. 

“By involving residents in the design process, Estes Park has built a well-used, much loved Community Center,” said Damema Mann, Director of National Engagement for Polco/ National Research Center

For its efforts, Estes Park was recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Voice of the People award for Transformation in Recreation and Wellness. This is the only national award that honors local governments based on feedback from residents. The award is presented by Polco / National Research Center (NRC) and the International City & County Management Association (ICMA). This award acknowledges local governments that make significant improvements on The NCS ratings and that take the best actions on behalf of their communities.

A Thoughtful Design

Part of what makes residents appreciate the Estes Valley Community Center so much is the thoughtful planning that went into the design.

After four failed attempts to fund and construct the community center, voters approved the funds needed in 2014 and 2015 to construct the facility.

“In the end, the Community Center was designed with the input of everyone to ensure it provided excellent services for all,” said Kate Rusch, Estes Park Public Information Officer. 

City leaders reached out through many different channels to gather feedback to inform the plan. The facility has been carefully designed to be for both locals and visitors, as well as for people of all ages. The business plan ensures that services don’t compromise other local businesses.

The center provides varied paid services for members and non-members, as well as free services like WiFi, coffee, walking/running track, a library kiosk, and more. 

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Estes Park leaders maintain a commitment to continuous improvement. 

“Feedback from customers and the community help ensure the Community Center is providing the best possible services for Estes Park,” said Rusch. 

Additionally, City leaders have invested in recreation outside of the Community Center as well. Recently Estes Park has added new parks, trails, and open space as part of an Estes Valley Trails Master Plan.

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