Grove City residents have again expressed an overall positive attitude about their city.

Ninety-four percent of respondents in the 2017 Community Attitudes Survey said they have a positive view of Grove City as a place to live.

That represents an all-time high result in the 12 surveys conducted since 1992.

This year's survey was completed last summer by Saperstein Associates.

The public-opinion research company interviewed 505 adults via cellphone or landline for the survey.

The survey respondents are representative of Grove City residents in key demographics, including the percentage of male and female residents, various age groups, whether they have children younger than 18 in their household and whether they own their home.

Nearly half of the respondents rated Grove City as an excellent place to live, while 45 percent rated it as good.

"You want to see ratings that are excellent and good, that's what tells you you're on the right track," Mayor Ike Stage said.

Only 5 percent of the respondents rated Grove City as an average place to live and 1 percent ranked it as fair or poor.

Ninety-four percent believe the city is heading in the right direction, another all-time high mark in the survey.

Those numbers give validation to the strategic planning the city has put into place, Stage said.

"We've had our ups and downs with those results over the years, but the last few surveys have shown our residents believe we are moving in the right direction," he said.

The percentage of survey respondents with positive impressions of Grove City as a place to live has steadily grown from 82 percent in 2011 to this year's all-time mark of 94 percent.

The percentage of respondents who believe the city is moving in the right direction has increased by 10 percentage points over the last five surveys.

"Overall, the survey shows our residents have a sense of satisfaction living in Grove City and endorse what we are doing in the city," City Council President Roby Schottke said.

"The initial results I've seen show that people are pleased with the level of services we provide and feel safe and secure in our community," he said.

While the survey results are mostly good, Stage said he was concerned about the survey results showing that only 57 percent of residents would remain in their neighborhood if given a choice of where to live.

"That's a category where we need to do better," he said.

And while nearly eight of 10 respondents consider Grove City an excellent or good place in which to move or start a business, only 56 percent had similar views regarding access in the city to good-paying jobs.

"Our task will be attracting more employers with higher-paying jobs to the city," Stage said. "I do think that once the Mount Carmel project is completed and those jobs start coming in, we'll start seeing the percentage regarding access to good-paying jobs go up."

Regarding public services, 96 percent of respondents gave an excellent or good rating to the Jackson Township Fire Department and the percentage for the Grove City Division of Police was 88 percent.

Trash collection, access to quality health care and the service department earned positive rankings of 91, 87 and 84 percent respectively. Seventy-three percent of the surveyed residents gave a positive view of access to affordable housing and 62 percent praised the city's highways and freeways.

Ninety-six percent rated the Grove City Library as being excellent or good, an increase of 13 percent over the 2015 survey. The opening of the new library building likely accounts for the increase.

South-Western City Schools received a positive response from 61 percent of residents, just slightly lower than two years ago. About nine out of 10 residents give high marks to the city's parks and recreation facilities and programming.

When asked which of several potential community projects they considered to be the highest priority, building a permanent facility for colleges and universities and extending the Grove City Town Center along Columbus Street, from Broadway to the Beulah Park development ranked first and second.

Building a second swimming pool or a performing arts center received the fewest votes as top priorities.

The city first commissioned the community attitudes survey in 1992 after conducting a study in partnership with the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce.

"We found out that people in Grove City, in general, weren't all that enthusiastic about the city," Stage said. "With the survey, we began measuring people's attitudes about certain hot-button issues and services to try to help us make sure the things we are doing here in the city match up with what people expect and want."

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