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PACC community survey results are in and the survey said...

The Perham Area Community Center conducted a survey earlier this year to determine what residents want in the fitness and community hub. Hoping to receive a “few hundred surveys,” director Kevin Nelson was thrilled to receive more than 800 responses, he said. Submitted photo

A survey conducted last fall by the Perham Area Community Center may result in changes at the fitness and community hub in upcoming years.

Throughout January PACC collected responses to a simple survey asking residents what prevented them from joining and what amenities the facility should seek to include, such as a new pool, expanded classes or adding fitness equipment.

More than 800 surveys, which were available online, on Facebook and on the PACC website, as well as at the center, were returned, according to Kevin Nelson, facility director.

Cost, distance and a lack of amenities present barriers for people to join the PACC for a majority of non-member respondents. And according to the survey, the board should focus its development efforts on offering trending fitness classes, improving and expanding the fitness area and creating a kids playland.

"The survey gives the board some direction," Nelson said, "but it is also looking at other ideas."

As a result of the survey, the board could decide at some point in the future to make changes to the PACC building to better utilize space in some areas without expanding the footprint of the building, Johnson said, or in other words, adding on to the present 66,000-square-foot facility.

Bluegill Marketing tallied the results of the 812 completed surveys, which found two-thirds of respondents were members. A majority of the respondents, 64 percent, use the facility often, daily or occasionally; 26 percent said they rarely use the PACC.

Cost of programs at the PACC was the number one reason many people didn't use the fitness center, according to the survey, and Nelson said the cost may be high for some families as they are earning working wages.

Distance came in second as a barrier for respondents, but Nelson noted that many of those responses were from people who worked in Fargo and either used a facility there or were not able to use the PACC over lunch hour because they worked out of town.

A majority of the respondents want preschool amenities, Nelson said, such as a wading pool and a play area with Little Tykes equipment.

"We don't have a bouncy house and slides for kids, like Detroit Lakes has," he said. "People want a dedicated space for kids to play."

Presently, kids must be at least 7 years old to be in some spaces in the PACC and families with younger children don't have options for their kids to play.

A majority of survey respondents requested trending fitness classes, Nelson said, such as bunge yoga and paddleboard yoga fitness however scheduling pool time for the paddleboard classes then becomes an issue. And offering a bunge yoga class would require a space with a tall ceiling.

Overall, making some changes in one area, requires rescheduling other activities, which then creates another scheduling problem for another group, Nelson said, though at certain times of the year, "we use much less space."

During the winter months of January and February, the PACC can see up to 13,000 checkins, while checkins drop to about 10,000 during the summer he said.

"We do very well for a small community," said Nelson, who has been director at the facility for 18 years.

In past years, the PACC board and staff have responded to member requests by adding 24-hour access to select parts of the fitness center, allowing shift workers and others to work out as their schedule permits. It also added Fitness on Demand, in which people use a kiosk to choose a workout routine and follow along with the "instructor."

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