Community survey paints positive perception of city

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
Hillsboro residents would like to see better sidewalks in town and have some suggestions for improvements or additions to the city’s recreation options, but otherwise they seem fairly pleased with the state of the city, according to the results of the community-wide survey conducted last month by the Hillsboro Planning and Zoning Commission.

Partial results of the survey were discussed at the commission’s Oct. 31 meeting. The results of the general questions are detailed below, including a breakdown of the various age groups who responded.

The one aspect that drew the most negative response, gauged by the “Needs Improvement” response were city sidewalks. Overall, 79 percent of the 384 respondents said the sidewalks in Hillsboro need attention-including 85 percent of respondents over the age of 65.

No other area of city life generated a negative response of over 50 percent, but 44 percent of respondents did indicate the city’s electrical services need to be improved.

City streets and water were next highest on the list with 36 percent and 31 percent saying improvement was needed.

On the positive side, Hillsboro schools received strong endorsement. Each of the three institutions-elementary, middle and high schools-generated more than 70 percent “Excellent” or “Good” commendations from those who turned in surveys.

When those who did not respond to the questions-primarily respondents too old to have children in the schools-the approval rating rose to the mid-80 percent range for each school.

Given the opportunity to suggest areas for improvement, recreation-related responses topped the list. Thirty-two respondents suggest a new swimming pool, 20 wanted improvements to the city park system, and 16 suggested bike paths to top the list.

City Administrator Steven Garrett said he was pleased with the number of surveys returned by residents.

“We were hoping for a representative sampling and I feel we got one,” he said. He said the response was nearly triple what is considered to be the normal response rate of 10 to 15 percent.

“That tells me people care about their city,” he said.

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