Sugar Land, TX -- Communicating with local parks may seem strange, but this is quickly becoming a reality in Sugar Land. The public will soon be able to interact with parks via text message.
Sugar Land is collaborating with Hello Lamp Post, a two-way communication platform, to bring interactive technology to various parks in the city to encourage the public to provide input on how they use the parks system now and how they envision the parks system of the future.
This project, named Hello Sugar Land Parks, encourages individuals to share insights about their experience and vision for the parks on an ongoing basis, which will be fed in real-time to the city. The data is anonymous and not only gathers sentiment but is an empowering customer service tool that will enable the city to consider changes based on ideas suggested by the community. The city intends to use these insights and feedback in the decision-making process.
This initiative provides an opportunity for the city to listen to the needs of residents; make government more transparent and collaborative; improve community engagement; and use innovative, new technology.
“This goes beyond a typical survey,” said Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Kimberly Terrell. “Many people are surveyed-out and may not want to engage in that way. This opens up a different way to communicate with our park users directly and allows the city to gather data from users who may not reach out directly using 311 or traditional methods. Plus, the data is specific to the park that the patron is talking to so it helps the city take specific action.”
Parks are an important part of the fabric of the community. According to Sugar Land’s last Citizen Satisfaction Survey, 95 percent of residents love calling Sugar Land home and 10 percent say that nothing would make their lives better than it already is. The Parks and Recreation Department maintain the city’s 27 parks, which encompass 1,174 acres of developed parkland and over 35 miles of trails, as well as the Imperial Park Recreation Center, T.E. Harman Center, Municipal Pool at City Park and many additional city facilities.
These parks, and projects like Hello Sugar Land Parks, not only serve the residents of Sugar Land, but bring new visitors to Sugar Land who spend money within the city and help keep Sugar Land’s tax rate low while funding the high level of services citizens expect.
The signs are being installed in most city parks. Neighborhood parks such as Highlands Park to regional parks such as Memorial Park will have these signs. A full list can be found at www.sugarlandtx.gov/hellopark. They are bright and have QR codes on them to start conversations. No app or special software is required.
The Sugar Land Parks and Recreation Department has entered a series of questions and answers into the system that facilitate conversations with AI. Terrell said this is intended to be a two-way conversation, where the visitor can ask the park questions as well as provide input. Each time visitors interact with the park, they will have a different experience.
“Hearing from the public about what they’d like to see in our parks forms part of the long-term strategy to make the parks better for future generations while also giving us the technology to share and react to useful information,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Joe Chesser.
Visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/hellopark to find out more about the project. For more information about the city’s parks, contact Sugar Land Parks and Recreation Department at (281) 275-2825 or visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/parks. Don’t forget to follow Sugar Land Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SugarLandParks.