Survey Says: People Want More Information on Selling Parks, Road Tax

Here's what 386 people that took the Patch survey had to say.

Residents of Forestdale Avenue found out last summer that the city does not have money to repave lousy streets.
Residents of Forestdale Avenue found out last summer that the city does not have money to repave lousy streets.
When it comes to selling Royal Oak parks or supporting a road tax, the decision is far from clear-cut for Royal Oak Patch readers.

While city officials wait for the results of 1,500 mailed surveys from Cobalt Community Research, many Patch readers are already asking for more information. 

Patch readers have questions, such as who would the city sell the parks to and for what purpose?

[Read: How Do You Like Royal Oak? City Launches Survey to Find Out Residents' Satisfaction to learn more about the Cobalt survey mailed to residents.]

And the survey says...

Here's what the 386 people that took the Patch survey had to say.

The City has 50 parks, and some are seldom used. Should the City sell less-used parks to improve parks that are used more often?

  • Yes - support: 27.94 percent
  • No - oppose: 43.34 percent
  • Need more information: 28.72 percent

Would you support a modest tax increase dedicated to maintain and reconstruct local roads?

  • Yes - support: 38.08 percent
  • No - oppose: 34.72 percent
  • Need more information: 27.20 percent

"That's pretty much what I expected," said Mayor Jim Ellison, of Patch's survey results.

The "need more information" clicks do not represent a "no" vote, the mayor said, it just means city officials have much work ahead of them should they decide to put parks up for sale or ask voters to support a road tax.

Ellison added he has not seen the study results from Cobalt yet.

Sale of community parks 

City officials placed the question regarding parks on the survey to find out where residents stood regarding the sale of any city-owned land.

"I don’t believe the administration has identified any park to date. This subject is on the agenda at the strategic planning meeting in January," said Recreation Director Tod Gazetti.

All of Royal Oak's community parks are dedicated, therefore they cannot be sold without a majority of residents' voter approval, Gazetti said.

Bumpy road ahead

Leaders are also curious if voters are wiling to pony up for road improvements.

Residents of Forestdale Avenue found out last summer that the city does not have money to repave lousy streets.

"If (the road) is going to be repaired, it's going to have to be paid for by the residents,"  City Manager Don Johnson advised Forestdale neighbors at a public hearing in July.

Johnson said Royal Oak does not spend "one penny of local property tax money" on roads. The only funds the city has are its share of revenues collected through state motor fuels taxes and vehicle registration fees, he said.

[Read: The Bumpy Road to Getting Your Lousy Street Resurfaced]

Strategic planning meeting

City officials are expected to review the results of the Cobalt study, which are due Dec. 6, when it holds its strategic planning meeting on Jan. 18.

In addition to providing credible survey results, Colbalt also develops coalitions of local governments and pools information so that leaders can learn from other communities that are "producing superb results," according to its website.

The strategic planning meeting, which helps the administration incorporate commission goals into the recommended budget, will be held in the City Hall conference room (Rm. 309) this year.

Editor's note: The results listed in this article are from a PATCH survey, which asked only the last two questions of the "official" six-page Cobalt survey. The Patch survey is not a scientific survey. We're just trying to get a idea of what's on our readers' minds.

CDE December 06, 2013 at 12:32 AM
The parks in RO are abysmal and I love this town. There is not one park that is above average in this city--sub-par landscaping and a lot of out-dated playground equipment (not all). Would love to see one of the parks become a county park and for the city to sell off 7-10 of the lesser-used parks (i.e. the park on Mohawk Ave. with horrific tennis courts, two swings, and a purple dinosaur from 1970). I am baffled by 43.34% of Royal Oakers who definitively said "No" to this idea.
Patience December 06, 2013 at 01:14 AM
1500 surveys went out and only 386 returned at a cost of $12,000? The city should be ashamed of itself. Sounds to me like a misappropriation of funds.
CDE December 06, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Patience, you should have actually read the article before making inappropriate accusations. The 386 survey results were from a Royal Oak Patch two question survey, which is entirely different than the six page survey being sent out to 1,500 Royal Oak residents. Keep it Classy Patience.
Patience December 06, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Love the way you troll CDE. I still find that something is off about the numbers with the price of the 6 page survey and the amount of money spent on it. As I mentioned in another article this seems to be an awful lot of money for a survey that is probably not going to yield the results the city is looking for.
CDE December 06, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Patience, did you just copy and paste "troll"ing from my other post...nice job...but just so you know what it means to "troll"..."one who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with NO SUBSTANCE or RELEVANCE to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue." Pot calling the kettle black.
Nate McAlpine December 06, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Hey, my kid loves the 1970's purple dinosaur! Kids don't need fancy, top of the line parks. Just open space with some safe structures. As far as the cost to conduct surveys, it cost around $0.50 just for one stamp and envelope. Then you have to pay somebody to stuff those envelopes, write up the survey and evaluate the results. That adds up fast.
Julie Dean Wingett December 06, 2013 at 09:20 AM
I live a block over from Forestdale and many roads in this neighborhood look just as bad as that photo and are desperately in need of repair. I'm sure many residents would be willing to pony up a few extra bucks if it meant having streets that enhance property values instead of dragging them down.
Debbie Campbell December 06, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Hey Patience—Don’t let CDE bother you--I do like your idea (posted in the other survey article) about developing smaller community gardens in city parks – unfortunately, I suspect Mayor Ellison and his commission wouldn’t buy in to the concept unless it somehow involved the downtown Bars, which appear to be an important part of their political financial base, and the sale of alcohol. --So let’s expand on your great idea by making it something the mayor can sink his cocktail stirrer into—kind of a “bacchanalian vegetable fest” --then they may hop right on it-- I mean why limit the VODKA-VODKA events to the Farmers Market when the City could have mini neighborhood VODKA-VODKA events running simultaneously in every park in town! –The possibilities are endless--Half price shots with every veggie purchase—bartenders dressed up like farm animals—I mean heck—who wouldn’t buy a cocktail from a city manager dressed up in a donkey suit---Just think of all the surveys the proceeds would pay for!!!
Chris December 06, 2013 at 10:28 AM
I think the city should employ some sort of e-mail or Web based surveys for the future. Not that $12,000.00 is breaking the bank for a city of 23000 single family homes. A web portal on the City's Website just like this one for "Patch" Could be better money spent. As for the roads they do need repairing but I believe Assessment Districts will be a better way to share the cost to the neighbourhoods' that need it. If it comes to an open millage vote once approved it never goes away. I also think many of the New Construction Homes are installing newer sewer connections which cause the roads to be re patched, maybe charging higher fees for that work will also balance the costs.
Maria Tierney Koehn December 06, 2013 at 11:32 AM
The neighbors on Mohawk and that area had to give up on playing at and having there homes graced by Franklin Elementary School and playground when it was closed, torn down and than sold. The little bitty park next to the tennis court and the courts are nice to still see and Mr. Purple Dinosaur didn't get there till the nineties :) . People moved into that neighborhood because of the parks and school. I know we did. Best neighbors ever on Cherokee and Wyandotte. I still visit Dondero Park with my kids that love the swings and they have many happy memories of playing there. I hope the City does NOT sell one park. We have lost so many schools and school yards already. The parks were never intended to help budget the city or pave a road. The Parks serve the community in their presence. The parks, even the ones that are being said to NOT have been used often, are of value to the city and ARE truly being used for the quiet nature space, offering peace of mind to the residents of Royal Oak and those that visit as they travel pass. Still a wonderful place for our children. If caring for the parks are being a financial burden in the city than perhaps we can have adopt a park programs.
niteman December 06, 2013 at 11:51 AM
I have been in front of city council previously to complain about the condition of our street (Hawthorn Ave) and heard the same convenient answer out of Don Johnson. I was protesting that I've been forced to replace my sidewalk twice in 12 years thru the city's program yet in 20-some years of living on the same street I've seen NO repairs on the crumbling, pothole filled road. As mentioned, Mr. Johnson proclaimed the same...but then can someone tell me how Farnum Ave by the old Whittier school received brand new road where the school was? Perhaps because the city owned that property and was improving it for the housing development?? Very fishy and unfair!
The Duke of Royal Oak December 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
If the parks are sold you can never have that land again, for the city or the residents. The financial scenario changes through out time, do not panic and do not sell any parks.
Pbrzez December 06, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Please, please don't sell the parks. That makes Royal Oak, Royal Oak. We raised our family in RO. My one son now lives in Clarkston. When his family comes for a visit, we always walk up to Marks Park. He has commented how much he loves RO because where ever you live in the city, you can walk to a park. Not drive! With the lot sizes being small, residence need the green space. This isn't Oakland Twp where the lot sizes are acres. Please listen to the residents and keep the parks!
Pbrzez December 06, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Read my lips no new taxes for the roads. I was shock when I received my winter tax statement and how much the approved assessment for the police dept was. The city should keep trying to get federal, state and county funding for the roads.
Sherry Lane December 09, 2013 at 03:47 PM
that 12,000.00 used for that survey, and the cost of that new logo for the city.. could have revamped a few parks.. PLEASE STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY SO FOOLISHLY !!!
Sherry Lane December 09, 2013 at 03:56 PM
niteman.. I'm with you on the fishy business.. going on down at the old Whittier school site.. I'm on Baldwin Ave. pretty close to the new neighborhood... Baldwin is a mess...


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »