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Community needs survey results are in for the City of Neligh and show where residents view areas of strength for the community, as well as where improvements can be made.
The survey was sent to Neligh residents with their April utility bills and asked to be returned to Miller & Associates, a Kearney-based Consulting and Engineering firm. The company is assisting the city to develop a short term strategic plan, capital improvement plan, community needs assessment and a full housing study for Neligh’s first comprehensive plan since 1977.
A brief synopsis on the survey was shared at last week’s town hall meeting by community planner Brenda Jensen. Information from the full survey - minus comments - has since been released.
When asked to rank the “Neligh Top Five,” top results were hospital (9.45%), medical services (8.29%), fire hall (6.65%), drive-in theater (5.79%) county seat (5.50%), highway 275/14 (4.73%) library (4.53%), churches (4.53%), public school (4.44%) and park (3.95%). At the bottom of the list at .29% or less were USDA office (.29%), garden nursery (.29%), nice downtown architecture (.19%), extension office (.10%), NDOR office (.10%), incubator building (.10%) and 24-hour fitness (.0%).
When rating services or structures, 55.23% said excellent to the library, 46.98% excellent to the cemetery and 48.02% excellent to the senior centers. The school facilities were 46.72% poor and parks & rec facilities were 30.77% percent poor.
Jensen said 31 percent of residents returned the form to Miller and Associates with 44.4 percent of those being age 65 and older and 34.67 percent 45-64. When asked by a community member if the age of those responding makes a difference in the results, Jensen said yes. She said it’s difficult for those ages 25-44 (20% of the surveys were from this age group) to fill out a survey due to their schedules.
Excellent ratings was given for fire protection/EMS (59.43%) while fair/good ratings were given to park & recreation facilities (46.82%), school facilities (44.45%), senior citizen programs (47.2%), handicapped programs (46.10%), water (49.52%), sanitary sewer (50.33%), storm water drainage (47.69%), community development (41.28%), community planning (41.30%), senior citizen housing (43.49%), pedestrian accessibility downtown (47.81%) and lighting/signage downtown (44.51%).
Poor ratings were given for steets/sidewalks (59.33%), job creation (64.72%), support & programming (58.20%), business retention (61.62%), community development (57.10%), community planning (55.90%), owner-occupied rehab for housing (55.68%), homeownership assistance (59.78%), affordable rental housing (65.77%), restaurant variety (63.22%), retail store variety (66.21%), aesthetics/beautification (57.56%).
The survey rated community facilities, services, infrastructure, economic development, housing and downtown district on a scale of poor, fair, good to excellent. It also asked for age, education, housing structure, condition of home, number of people in the home, disabled members, years in Neligh, whether people would move, developing downtown, daycare, childcare, cell phone service, landline, text and email alerts, tourism and tax increases.
On supporting a half cent sales tax increase, 35.05% said maybe, 28.04% said yes, 20.09% said no and 16.82% said not at this time.
On importance of local economic development efforts, top votes went to support existing businesses (18.75%), new industry (18.50%), new retail (16.00%), youth retention (12.50%) and downtown revitalization (11.00%).
On importance of tourism, 47.66% said somewhat, 42.99% said very and 9.34% said not very/not at all.
On daycare, 88.26% responding had no child under the age of 12 in daycare. 53.66% said its somewhat difficult to find daycare and 36.59% said very difficult.
On communication, 43.30% had two family cell phones, 32.59% had one cell phone. Just 6.70% did not have a cell phone. With a landline, 68.92% have one and 31.08% do not. Two-thirds responding knew the City of Neligh has a free text and email system available.