Brainerd kicks off community survey group
The city of Brainerd is hoping an upcoming survey project will provide better insight into what residents want from their city. The city hired research software company Qualtrics to help facilitate a number of community surveys which will take pl...
The city of Brainerd is hoping an upcoming survey project will provide better insight into what residents want from their city.
The city hired research software company Qualtrics to help facilitate a number of community surveys which will take place during the next year, City Planner Mark Ostgarden said.
The city is currently recruiting community members to sign up and volunteer to take these surveys over the coming months. Citizens are asked to participate in up to 12 surveys over 12 months about issues important to the city.
The signup period for the Community Survey Panel will last for a couple of months, Ostgarden said. The city isn't sure when the first survey will go out, he said, but city staff were shooting for August. Hopefully many people sign up prior to the first survey, he said, but people are still welcome to sign up after the first survey is released.
The city has set an ambitious goal of getting 300 people to sign up for the Community Survey Panel, Ostgarden said.
City staff will work with Qualtrics to design surveys on various issues, ranging from general quality of life to infrastructure, growth and development, Ostgarden said.
"We're going to try to orient surveys on various topics for the public to react to," Ostgarden said.
Survey respondents will be asked to answer multiple choice questions, rank different statements or options and provide comments on certain issues, Ostgarden said. City staff will also be able to see if the demographics of the panel of respondents lineup with the demographics of the city as a whole, he said.
"We can check to see if it's a diverse group of respondents," Ostgarden said.
Qualtrics will be able to process the responses on a survey-by-survey basis, Ostgarden said, which allows for quicker feedback. In the short term, the data could help guide the Brainerd City Council when it comes to budgeting, he said. In the long term, the surveys serve as a small step toward updating the city's comprehensive plan.
"Gauge the community's thoughts on a number of issues that would be important for updating the comprehensive plan," Ostgarden said.
It's difficult to get people to come to a meeting or a public hearing to provide input, Ostgarden said. Surveys are a good option for people to provide feedback when they don't have the time or energy to otherwise get involved, he said.
"Hopefully we're going to design surveys that won't be that difficult to respond to," Ostgarden said.
Questions about the Community Survey Panel can be directed to the city Planning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-828-2309. Visit www.ci.brainerd.mn.us/CivicAlerts to sign up for the Community Survey Panel.
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