Friday, April 12, 2024

Wilmington residents say traffic, jobs and downtown safety are top concerns in survey

The City of Wilmington released the results of their 2017 Citizen Survey.
The City of Wilmington released the results of their 2017 Citizen Survey. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington recently conducted their biennial ‘Citizen Survey’ to gauge “satisfaction levels and perceptions of city services,” according to a release by Communications Manager Malissa Talbert.

The survey is used to help the city develop funding priorities and is “one of the most accurate ways the city has to hear directly from a large number of citizens about what is important to them and how they would like their tax dollars spent,” the release states.

The survey was conducted between March and April, using a random sampling of Wilmington residents.

Wilmington residents felt safest in their neighborhoods during the day, and least safe downtown at night. (Port City Daily photo / CITY OF WILMINGTON)
Wilmington residents felt safest in their neighborhoods during the day, and least safe downtown at night. (Port City Daily photo/CITY OF WILMINGTON)

Safety

Compared to the 2015 results, the city improved or stayed the same in 29 of 80 areas. This study also showed significant increases in feelings of safety and crime prevention.

A notable exception was the “downtown business district at night,” where only one-third of residents felt safe and more than one-third felt unsafe. This is, however, an improvement over survey results from 2007 to 2015, when only 20 percent of residents felt safe downtown.

Perceptions of Wilmington

Resident agree, Wilmington is a good-looking city with a good quality of life, but growth and job issues plague perception of the area. (Port City Daily photo / CITY OF WILMINGTON)
Resident agree, Wilmington is a good-looking city with a good quality of life, but growth and job issues plague perception of the area. (Port City Daily photo/CITY OF WILMINGTON)

When it came to the perception of Wilmington, more than half of residents found the city to be visually appealing with a high quality of life. That popularity has lead to increased population, but only 28 percent of residents approved of the city’s handling of that growth.

Residents also voiced concern about the availability of jobs; less than 20 percent were satisfied with job opportunities. (Read more about Wilmington’s problematic job scene here.)

City Services

According to the release, overall, citizens expressed a general sense of satisfaction, showing that the majority of the people polled think the city is spending the right amount of money on most city services. Services with the highest satisfaction included fire, trash, recycling and yard waste, parks and recreation and the police force. Others noted areas of improvement were the City Golf Course and enforcement of fire codes.

Overall, residents felt they received good services for their tax dollars - except when it came to traffic management, the region's perennial trouble spot. (Port City Daily photo / CITY OF WILMINGTON_)
Overall, residents felt they received good services for their tax dollars – except when it came to traffic management, the region’s perennial trouble spot. (Port City Daily photo / CITY OF WILMINGTON)

However, citizens expressed a desire for more spending on streets and sidewalk management. This was related to the top complaint: traffic management on city streets. Less than 25 percent of those polled were satisfied with traffic flow management, an improvement over 2007 but down from 29 percent satisfaction in 2015.

According to the city, these concerns are being addressed in part by the 5-year, $41 million infrastructure plan that aims to repair paving and upgrades to public facilities. The 2014 Transportation Bond, which included constructing walking and biking trails designed to get cars off the road, and the 2016 Parks Bond that helped construct the Northern Waterfront Park, as well as well as additional athletic fields and facilities.

For more information, or to see the full survey results, visit wilmingtonnc.gov.

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