John Charles Robbins
Daily Journal Editor
… And the survey says!
City officials in Rockingham continue to encourage citizen participation in a survey that will ultimately guide the course of the city — its blueprint for the future.
As part of the city’s update of its long range land use plan, officials are seeking the opinions and ideas of city residents through a written survey.
The plan, “Shaping Our Future: 2012,” was adopted in July 2002 and expired last year. It served as a master plan of sorts for most land use related decisions and special projects over the last decade in the city. City officials and a special committee are in the midst of updating the plan.
City Planning Director John Massey, who is coordinating the plan update, is striving to reach as many people as possible.
A big part of the update is the survey, which included a hard copy mailed to all city water customers, and an online version accessible on the city’s website. Massey said officials will continue to collect survey results for about another week before digging in and analyzing the results, as the update work moves forward.
The surveys were mailed during the first week of February. Surveys were mailed to all city water customers — both residential and commercial — which total approximately 5,000 mailed surveys, Massey said. To date, citizens have returned 210 surveys and an additional 107 have been completed online for a total response of 317.
“Responses continue to come in, but the pace is slowing. We will probably give citizens another week or so to respond, and then city staff will begin analyzing the results,” Massey said this week.
“Right now, the rate of return is a little over 6 percent, which is very similar to the rate of return for the last citizen survey conducted by the city 10 years ago. I am comfortable this rate of return will give city officials a representative sampling of what our citizens believe are the important issues that need to be addressed over the next 10-year period.
“A number of citizens have taken the time to provide additional written comments, which are greatly appreciated and will certainly be distributed to our elected officials for their review,” said Massey.
Massey said the survey takes about 5 minutes to complete.
People can access the online survey by going to www.gorockingham.com and looking on the left side of the home page. There they will see a green button titled, “Begin Survey.”
The survey begins with questions about whether you live within the city limits or not, or how many household members you have and what their ages are. The next page asks you to indicate, among a list of issues or topics, whether they are top priority, very important to not important. These issues and topics include but are not limited to improving the highway leading into the city, removing empty and run-down buildings, diversifying the local economy, revitalizing the downtown economy and improving or repairing existing roads for better and safer driving.
The survey also asks you to indicate your opinion — between strongly agree and strongly disagree — on issues the city should address, such as improving efforts to promote Rockingham as a tourist destination and sponsoring a 5k or 10k run in conjunction with a downtown festival. Additional questions follow and at the end of the survey there is a comment and suggestion box.
“I continue to encourage those citizens to complete a citizen survey who have not already done so,” Massey said. “This is a great opportunity for every citizen to voice his or her opinion about the direction of Rockingham for the next 10 years.”
Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.