Grove City Record

Grove City scores well with residents in biannual survey

90 percent of residents have a positive impression of Grove City

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Grove City scored favorably with its residents on a recent survey.

Just before City Council's regular meeting Sept. 16, the public opinion research company Saperstein Associates presented the findings of its 2013 Grove City Community Attitudes Survey in the lower level meeting room of City Hall.

City and South-Western City School District officials were in attendance.

"It's critical for the city to know, like a business, what its constituency thinks," said Don Walters, the city's community/business relations officer.

The survey, involving more than 500 adult residents of Grove City, Jackson Township and Urbancrest contacted through landline telephone and cellphone interviews, was conducted between March 14 and 23.

Grove City has hired Saperstein Associates to conduct the survey every other year since 1992. This year's study was the 10th.

"We get to see trend lines," said Marty Saperstein, president of Saperstein Associates. "It provides some direction."

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said the city is trying to benchmark the results.

"It is important information," he said "It is information that is statistically sound."

Overall, in 2013, 90 percent of those surveyed said they had positive impressions of Grove City as a place to live and 87 percent said they felt the city was heading in the right direction, an increase from the 2011 survey's from 82 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

Four of 10 residents rated employment opportunities in Grove City as excellent or good, up from 27 percent in 2011, although down from its peak of 47 percent in 1998.

On public services, residents gave positive marks of 91 percent to the fire department, 88 percent to community events, 87 percent for trash collection, 84 percent for police services, 81 percent for the service department, 77 percent to the library, 77 percent for keeping neighborhoods clear of eyesores and 54 percent for the schools.

The Parks and Recreation Department scored its highest favorability rating with 85 percent.

The survey also asked residents which of five community projects should be a priority: building a performing arts center, building a community recreation center, building a second community swimming pool, building a permanent facility where colleges and universities can offer courses for local residents or redeveloping the Grove City Town Center.

The college facility scored highest with 31 percent, followed by redeveloping the Town Center with 27 percent and a recreation center with 26 percent.

Though the percentages of the development priorities has varied slightly, the ranking of these five projects remains the same from two years ago.

"These were the same we asked in 2011," Saperstein said. "The priorities of two years ago continue to be the priorities of today."

Sixty-five percent of respondents reported using Facebook and 20 percent reported using Twitter. However, only 14 percent said they had accessed the city's website and only 2 percent followed the city on Twitter.

"That's an opportunity for the city," Saperstein said.

In 2006, print media, including the ThisWeek Grove City Record and the Source, the city's newsletter and parks and recreation program guide, served as the primary source of city information for 91 percent of respondents, and 4 percent said their primary source was all online.

This year, print remains on top at 67 percent while online has climbed to 37 percent.

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