BY FREDA MIKLIN
Greenwood Village hired Corona Insights last summer to conduct a citywide citizen’s survey at a cost of $16,475. On Feb. 4 Corona presented a summary of the responses from the 1,356 surveys that were returned (22 percent of GV households) to the city council. The last survey was done in 2014.
Several questions focused on whether citizens were satisfied with city services. The answer was a resounding yes. Citizens felt very safe and appreciated the condition of the city’s roads, as well as its parks and trails. In response to a question about what else the city needed, the consultants reported that the most common amenity residents listed as lacking were “a recreation or community center.”
Asked how they got information about village programs and services, city newsletters and email were the top sources cited. People reported feeling well-informed. Corona noted that not one respondent mentioned Village Voices, a website that the city and its former consultants created in 2018 to collect residents’ input for the transportation master plan, and which GV has used staff time, public meetings and social media to promote.
When discussing what topics to include in the survey before it was sent out, the city council considered including questions about future development, but eventually rejected the idea. The closest they came to the subject was the final open-ended question on the survey: “Please share below any other comments you have to the Village regarding the topics in this survey or future plans in general.”
Asked to identify possible transportation improvements in order of priority, Corona reported that road capacity (e.g., road widening) was “clearly the most common first priority” residents named, with 53 percent of respondents choosing it as their first or second priority and 76 percent listing it in their top four. Next was transit, (e.g., light rail). which was listed as a top-four priority by 73 percent of respondents.
Current GV policy, based on city council resolutions adopted in 2011 (current city council members Dave Kerber and Jerry Presley were on the city council that year) and still in effect, prohibits widening Orchard Road west of Quebec Street or east of Yosemite Street. City council removed statements promoting the use of light rail in its revised comprehensive plan adopted in January.
Corona’s report pointed out that residents of GV’s district two “were less likely than others (respondents who live in GV districts one, three or four) to rate city services as very good,” “gave the lowest rating for customer service from Village staff,” and “gave lower ratings than others on the future direction of the Village and trustworthiness of Village government.”
In addition to reporting results based on boxes residents checked, there are over 4,000 transcribed answers to the six open-ended questions contained in the survey. Responses include consistently strong praise for city staff and services, along with a wide variety of opinions on many other subjects. Several residents questioned why dues paid to Greenwood Athletic Club (now Club Greenwood) were eligible for the city’s recreation reimbursement program, while dues paid to other private health clubs in GV were not.
In response to some of the written comments, city council member Judy Hilton said, “What I saw repeatedly was, ‘Greenwood Athletic Club is very expensive. We’d like to have a recreation center that would be free, and a swimming pool that would be free, and tennis courts and pickleball courts that would be free.’ Go to any municipality surrounding us and find that. It doesn’t exist…I think there are a lot of places in this survey and in the results that are confusing because of lack of clarity either about what was asked or overlap. … A city center is different from a recreation facility and I’m not sure people who filled this out knew that distinction.”
City council member Anne Ingebretsen asked the consultants if the comments could be categorized. She said, “Anybody who takes the time to handwrite a comment, to me that is more impactful than somebody who checks a box. … I’d like to be able to capture it in a more meaningful way to us.” City council member Tom Dougherty asked, “We have the data. What can we extrapolate from it?”
Kerber said, “I don’t think we can extrapolate anything from it …When I saw the survey come out, I thought, ‘This doesn’t mean anything.’ … And again, I would urge my fellow council members not to draw any conclusions from this, because I don’t think we can.”
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