What gives us an idea how people feel about local government, commuting to work or recreational activities in Red Wing? The answer — a community survey.
Since about the 1850s, community surveys have provided cities with the opportunity to determine what is working well in some areas and what might need a little more work — based entirely on citizens' input.
Those who recently received a call from Morris Leatherman Company were among the 400 residents selected to answer the 121 question telephone survey about quality of life in Red Wing. The last community survey was conducted in 2013.
Peter Leatherman presented the survey results during the City Council meeting Monday night, Oct. 9. Phone interviews were conducted Sept. 6-20.
Overall, the responses indicated a satisfied feeling with how the city is running. When asked to rate the quality of life, the majority of resident's replied either "excellent" or "good."
"What differentiates cities is the excellent (quality of life) rating. The average across the state is 21 percent, so you're over 50 percent rating the quality of life as excellent," Leatherman said.
He also noted that residents feel taxes are the most serious issue the city is currently facing, with growth and lack of business next on the list.
The survey was designed to gauge how the city is doing in categories such as education, housing, arts and culture, sustainability and physical and mental health.
This time around, half of the survey was designed to reflect Red Wing 2040 Action Team questions. The other half of the questions were repeated from previous years or similar to other community surveys in the past.
When it came to the harder questions, such as, "What do you think is the most serious issue facing Red Wing today?" the highest response may be surprising: nothing (24 percent). Among the list of options were: don't know/refused (4 percent), high taxes (16 percent), growth (14 percent), crime (6 percent), lack of businesses (12 percent), lack of jobs (11 percent), quality of schools (2 percent), drugs (5 percent) or scattered (6 percent).
"The sense of community (97 percent) is phenomenal in this city," Leatherman said, stating that this is the highest recorded in their database.
Three percent rated it fair or poor. In the metro the norm is 75 percent, and for non-metro areas it's about 82 percent, Leatherman said. "Whatever's been done here has really built a sense of community among residents."
The same percent of residents (97 percent) stated they feel accepted, valued and welcome in the city.
To get a complete list of the results, visit the city agenda here.