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Community Needs Assessments seek to gather accurate information representative of the needs of a community. Assessments are performed prior to taking action and are used to determine current situations and identify issues for action, establishing the essential foundation for vital planning. The process is an invaluable tool for involving the public in solving problems and developing goals. A needs assessment can be an excellent way for the public to become involved and contribute to the outcome.


This report was made possible thanks to the hard work of the following Service-learning students of PSYCH-32: Introduction to Research Methods at Gavilan College, under the guidance and supervision of instructor, Sara Salinas.

Alvarez, Anita
Calara, Brenda
Courville, Katie
Enos, Katie
Fox, Robin
Guzman, Christa
Jordan, Allison
Lim, Soryun
Malloy, Samantha
Martinez-Ruiz, Oshiel
Muhn, Donna
Rodriguez Duran, Fernando
Soliz, Juan Carlos
Tecpile, Araceli

Overview of the Needs Assessment

The following information was gathered in a community-based needs assessment conducted in Hollister, California during the fall of 2017. The project was carried out to gather input from the neighborhood residents surrounding McCarthy Street Park. The primary purpose of this undertaking was to get a better understanding of what the community would like featured at the soon to be renovated park.

Method and Design

Based off of a limited amount of time and our objective to gather as much data as possible, we utilized a quantitative research method in the form of a survey. Utilizing a survey allowed us to collect as much data as possible in the shortest amount of time, with a limited budget. The neighborhood surrounding McCarthy Street Park was divided into five sections (the number of neighborhood zones we established) and each group of students was assigned 22-30 homes (See appendix A).

As a class, we developed a one-page survey with ten questions and a comments section that would give us insight as to what the community would like to come out of the park’s future renovations (See appendix B).  The class researched questions from other community needs assessments and determined which questions were of utmost importance.

Data Collection and Analysis

The data collection phase took place from November 6th to November 21st.  Prior to starting the survey, students posted a notice on the Facebook Hollister Neighborhood Watch page to inform residents that student researchers were going to be canvasing the area near McCarthy Street Park. Data collection was done through door-to-door surveying as well as drop-offs and pick-ups. Some students also read surveys to participants and documented their responses for them.

The data analysis phase began by discussing how we would go about dividing and counting the surveys to avoid any possible errors. The next step was to develop a system where one student would record the total number of answers we received for each question after the class collectively agreed that there were 108 surveys to analyze. There were several times where we had to stop and start over due to possible error occurrences. We aimed to minimize the possibility of errors occurring to have the most accurate survey results.

Key Findings

Of the 108 surveys collected, 58% percent of the respondents identified as female and 42% as male. A majority, 81%, responded, “yes” to the question regarding Latino descent.


The most popular age group surveyed was between the ages of 36 and 45; however, the total age groups surveyed were similarly distributed. Several of the participants have at least one child. 72 have children and 36 do not.

One of the most striking statistics is that of the 108 people surveyed; many do not currently visit the park, yet reported that if the park were improved, they would be more likely to use the park.


When analyzing the data for the question, “Do you visit McCarthy Park?” respondents had to answer “yes” or “no.” Results showed that 68 participants said, “yes” (63%) and 40 participants said, “no” (37%).



Below is a chart of those who do not visit McCarthy Street Park and the reasons why.




In regards to other parks visited in San Benito County, there was a variety of people that had responses such as Dunne Park (28%), Vista Park/Park Hill (24%), Veterans Memorial Park (9%), Dog park (9%), Memorial (9%), Hollister Hills (6%), Bolado Park (4%), Apricot Park (2%), Las Brisas (2%), Hollister Historical Park (2%), Whale Park (2%), Sunnyslope Park (2%), and those who visit all parks (2%).


For the question, “Are you aware that the county is improving McCarthy Park?” There was a perfect 50/50% split of respondents being aware and unaware. 54 of the respondents answered, “yes,” while the other 54 responded, “no.” This response was interesting and led the researches to question why half the neighborhood knows what’s to come and the other half do not.



We had a follow up question asking if the participants would be interested in visiting the park even after the park is improved. The survey data showed that 80 (74%) participants would likely visit, 22 (20%) would not and 6 (6%) stated that they would maybe visit. The ones who responded “yes” may be looking forward to the improved park and the new things it will have to offer. The ones who responded, “no” followed up their responses with issues such as having adult children, the park is too dirty, they’re not interested, or don’t have the time to visit. With the 74% of those who said “yes,” they will visit after the renovations, the results show that the community is looking forward to the improvements and would be more than willing to share what they would like to see in the park.






For the final questions, community members were asked to choose features they would like to see included in the park renovations. The five most popular choices were picnic areas, play equipment, barbecue grills, lighting and basketball courts (See Appendix C).





This project is important since it depicts the sentiments and desires of the residents in the area surrounding McCarthy Street Park. With only 50% of the residents responding that they were aware of the future renovations, this project will hopefully give more community members a voice. Our hopes as a class is that gathering the public’s opinion will likely create more involvement and proper usage of McCarthy Street Park.


  1. Maps of Surveyed Areas

  1. Official Surveys


Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to answer questions about the McCarthy Park improvement project. This survey is anonymous— please answer openly and honestly.

Thank you for your input, your answers are very important to us!


  1. You are _____ Male _____Female


  1. Are you Latino? _____Yes _____No


  1. Age: _____18 – 25 _____26 – 35        _____36 – 45        _____46 – 55        _____56+


  1. How many children do you have? ________


  1. Are you aware that the county is improving McCarthy Park? _____Yes _____No


  1. Do you visit McCarthy park? _____Yes _____No


If yes, how often?       _____3+ times / week       _____Less than 3 times / week       _____Never


If you’ve never visited the park, why not? _____________________________________________


  1. Do you visit other parks in Hollister? _____Yes _____No

If yes, which one(s)? ______________________________________________________________


  1. When the park is improved, are you more likely to visit? _____Yes _____No

If no, why not? ________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Please circle four features you would like to see at the park.


covered picnic area       barbecue grills             play equipment       stage      sandbox


basketball courts       volleyball court       tennis court       soccer field       handball courts


running track      skateboarding ramps       lighting       water feature     outdoor gym equipment



  1. What other features would you like included in the park?


(1)______________________     (2)_______________________    (3)_____________________


  1. Do you have any other comments or suggestions as to how the park can be improved? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Thank you for completing our survey!


Gracias por tomar unos minutos de su tiempo para contestar las preguntas sobre el proyecto de  renovacion del parque McCarthy. Esta encuesta es anónima—por favor conteste abiertamente y honestamente.

Gracias por su contribucion, sus respuestas son importantes para nosotros!


  1. Eres un _____ Hombre _____Mujer


  1. ¿Se considera Latino? _____Si _____No


  1. Edad _____18 – 25 _____26 – 35        _____36 – 45        _____46 – 55        _____56+


  1. ¿Cuantos hijos tiene? ________


  1. ¿Tiene conocimiento de las renovaciones que el Condado esta planeando para el parque McCarthy? _____Si _____No


  1. ¿Visita el parque McCarthy? _____Si _____No


Si respondio si, ¿que tan seguido?       _____3+ veces / semana       _____Menos de 3 veces / semana    ___Nunca


¿Si usted no visita el parque, por qué no? ____________________________________________


  1. ¿Visita otros parques en Hollister? _____Si _____No

¿Si respondio si, cual(es)? __________________________________________________________


  1. ¿Despues que el parque sea renovado, es mas probable que lo visite?_____Si _____No

¿Si respondio no, por qué no? ______________________________________________________________________


  1. Favor de marcar con un circulo cuatro elementos que le gustaría tener en el parquet.


area cubierta de picnic     asadores      juegos infantiles     escenario    area de arena


cancha de basketball      cancha de volleyball      cancha de tennis     cancha de futbol


cancha de fronton (handball)    pista de carreras      pista para patinetas


luces/iluminacion       elementos de agua     aparatos para gimnasio al aire libre



  1. ¿Cuales otros elementos le gustaría que se incluyan en el parque?


(1)______________________     (2)_______________________    (3)_____________________


  1. ¿Tiene algun comentario o sujerencia para la mejoracion del parque?




¡Gracias por completar nuestra encuesta!


  1. Survey Results, N=108






1. You Are


Male 45
Female 63
2. Are you Latino?


Yes 88
No 20
3. Age


18-25 14
26-35 18
36-45 29
46-55 19
56+ 28
4. Do you have children?


Yes 72
No 36
5. Are you aware that the county is improving McCarthy Street Park?


Yes 54
No 54
6a. Do you visit McCarthy Street Park?


Yes 68
No 40
6b. If yes, how often?
3+ times/week 28
Less than 3 times/week 40
6c. If you’ve never visited the park, why not?


Not interested 7
Did not know 4
Ugly/not appealing 5
No kids 4
Working/no time 8
Different park 1
Not safe 2
Nothing for kids 4
Not handicap accessible 3
Too far 1
7a. Do you visit other parks in Hollister?


Yes 55
No 52
No answer 1
7b. If yes, which one(s)?


Dunne Park 15
Whale Park 1
Sunnyslope Park 1
Vista Park Hill 13
Veterans Memorial Park 5
Apricot Park 1
Las Brisas Park 1
Hollister Hills 3
Bolado Park 2
Dog Park 5
Memorial Parks, Various 5
Hollister Historical Park 1
All parks 1
8a. When the park is improved, are you more likely to visit?


Yes 80
No 22
Maybe 6
8b. If no, why not?


Adult children 2
Too dirty 1
Not interested 2
No time 2
I don’t know 2
9. Please circle the features you would like to see at the park.


Covered picnic area 53
Barbecue grills 40
Play equipment 47
Stage 9
Sandbox 12
Basketball courts 31
Volleyball court 12
Tennis court 9
Soccer field 19
Handball courts 12
Running track 23
Skateboarding ramps 4
Lighting 43
Water feature 27
Outdoor gym equipment 20
10. What other features would you like included in the park?


Tables 2
Power outlets 1
Bathrooms 13
Benches/bleachers 7
Baseball field 6
Plants/flowers/trees 5
Pet friendly 6
Concrete 1
Grass 5
Security 4
Drinking fountains 5
Snack Shack 1
Parking 1
11. Do you have any other comments or suggestions as to how the park can be improved?



·         More policing so the homeless stay away

·         Parental safety watch.

·         Thank you!

·         Green areas and a bigger playground

·         Can’t wait till it’s finished

·         So glad that the park is being improved.

·         I can’t wait to see the improvements!

·         Shouldn’t put showers

·         We don’t want unknown people at the park


·         Security cameras

·         Make it “family oriented”

·         Anything for kids

·         No sand

·         It can be improved by adding equipment for those whom have disabilities. (magical bridge)

·         It should feel safer for us

·         Make it dog friendly

·         For family

·         No water features—they can be unsanitary and waste valuable water. A playground instead of a bunch of concrete and asphalt would be cool too. Sandbox for kids…leave it as turf?

·         Fix the park please, traffic is horrible, make this place somewhere you want to end up.

·         More maintenance and trash and recycle cans

·         Put more play areas for the kids

·         More trees around the park so the kids can play while we are grilling. More benches so the old people like us can rest. Would like for the kids at the school to not smoke around the park or look for trouble while the kids are around.