Respondents suggest numerous changes and improvements
The biggest take-away from the Ward 4 survey results gathering Thursday night? Ward 4 residents want the city to address crime prevention, appearance/cleanliness, infrastructure, planning and land use, condition of streets, quality of lighting, snow removal and animal control in their neighborhoods. A couple dozen people filled City Hall’s chambers to hear the results, share their thoughts and concerns, and say whether or not they were interested in joining a sub-committee that might approach the city about possible future solutions.
The Ward 4 Survey, which was handed out in October 2019, had over 60 questions including subsections and space to share other concerns/suggestions/comments that would go to the Ward 4 Committee and their Alderman.
Ward 4 City Councilman Don Cavalier formed and leads the committee along with Brian Follette, Sharon Lewis, Cassie Kappelhoff, and Ken Myers.
Questions on the survey rated the quality of life in Ward 4, characteristics of the ward such as economic health, cost of living and sense of community, plus overall image/reputation. Plus, residents were able to rate the quality of snow removal, street repair/condition, enforcing traffic laws, recreational facilities, city code enforcement, overall appearance and cleanliness, crime prevention, ease of car travel in the ward and travel by bicycle and by foot, quality of lighting, and how safe or unsafe they feel in their ward. There were even questions about participation in the farmer’s market, visiting parks, use of the river, and use of the taxi or bus.
• 394 homes had attempted visits and 17 of those were unoccupied empty homes not for sale
• 154 returned surveys
• 39% response rate
• 124 survey answerers are homeowners, 26 are renters and four didn’t identify
• 417 adults live in the homes surveyed plus 114 minors
• 23 years is the average length of time in the ward
Section One said to rate Ward 4 as a place to live, to raise children, to retire, to recreate and play, and rate the overall quality of life.
Results: 79% said it was a good or very good place to live (17% fair, 3% poor, 1% don’t know), 62% said it was a good or very good place to raise kids (19% fair, 5% poor, 14% don’t know), 49% said it was a good or very good place to retire (22% fair, 11% poor, 18% don’t know), 44% said it was a good or very good place to play (39% fair, 8% poor, 9% don’t know), 49% said the overall quality of life was good (23% very good, 23% fair, 3% poor, 1% don’t know.)
Section Two said to rate Ward 4’s overall economic health, cost of living, health and wellness opportunities, overall feeling of safety, and sense of community.
Results: 40% rated the ward’s economic health as fair (3% very good, 32% good, 17% poor, 8% don’t know), 40% rated the cost of living as good or fair (7% very good, 8% poor, 5% don’t know), 39% said wellness opportunities were good (10% very good, 27% fair, 15% poor, 8% don’t know), 40% said their ward safety is good (16% very good, 28% fair, 14% poor, 1% don’t know), 36% thought the sense of community was good or fair (10% very good, 17% poor, 1% don’t know.)
Section Three said to rank Ward 4’s overall image/reputation, safety of community, neighbors/sense of community, and parks and recreation.
Results: 50% thought the overall image was poor (14% very good, 15% good, 11% fair), 48% said the safety of the community is very good (27% good, 21% fair, 4% poor), 37% said the sense of community was good (27% very good, 18% fair, 8% poor), and 36% said parks/rec amenities were poor (11% very good, 23% good, 31% fair.)
Section Four said to rate the quality of snow removal, street repair/condition, street cleaning, enforcing traffic laws, city code enforcement, maintenance of existing parks/open space/trails, recreation facilities, and police services.
Results: 32% said the quality of snow removal in their ward was good or fair (14% very good, 16% poor, 5% don’t know), 35% said the quality of street repair/condition was fair (3% very good, 27% good, 34% poor, 1% don’t know), 38% said quality of street cleaning was fair (8% very good, 37% good, 16% poor, 1% don’t know), 35% said the quality of enforcing traffic laws was good or fair (8% very good, 16% fair, 6% don’t know), 39% said city code enforcement of weeds/junk cars/trash/parking was poor (5% very good, 26% good, 28% fair, 3% don’t know), 49% said maintenance on parks/open space/trails were good (17% very good, 20% fair, 7% poor or don’t know), 37% said the quality of recreation facilities were good (9% very good, 36% fair, 13% poor, 4% don’t know), 46% said quality of police services were good (19% very good, 24% fair, 6% poor, 5% don’t know.)
Comments: Snow removal - “Alley not plowed frequently enough”, (need) “Faster snow removal”, “Impossible to get out of parking spot in front of home”, (need) “Better snow removal instead of pushing tons in people’s driveways”, “Seems like we are the last to have snow removed.” Streets - “Streets, sidewalks and curbs in horrible condition”, “Hunter Street is becoming difficult to drive on”, “Resurface roads in Woods Addition”, “Potholes and streets should be fixed sooner”, “Curbs are horrible; Fix or remove all”, “Roads untouched in 20 years.”
Section Five asks if the city offered an incentive program for property improvement, would ward residents take advantage of a three-year property tax abatement, low or no interest loans, water and garbage free for two years, or property improvement grants.
Results: 94 said they’d take advantage of a three-year property tax abatement, 107 said they’d take advantage of a low or no interest loan, 120 said they’d take advantage of a two-year free water/garbage program, and 113 said they’d take advantage of a property improvement grant.
Section Six said to rate the importance of overall appearance/cleanliness, building new amenities like sidewalks or bike paths, the city taking an active role in redevelopment, crime prevention, expanding programs for youth and older adults, improving safe traffic flow, planning and land use, improving infrastructure, condition of streets, ease of car travel, ease of public transit, ease of travel by foot, ease of bicycle travel, and quality of lighting.
Results: Top three choices for each rating - Essential: Crime Prevention (50%), Quality of Lighting (41%), Condition of Streets (35%.) Very Important: Appearance/Cleanliness (66%), Ease of Travel by Foot (59%), Condition of Streets (54%.) Somewhat Important: Building New Amenities (43%), Expand Programs Youth/Adult (37%), Ease of Public Transit (34%.)
Section Seven asked ward residents to indicate their household’s current participation in the farmer’s market/town square, Wildwood Park, Central Park, Central Park camping facilities, use of the river, Franklin Park, downtown amenities, Ampride Taxi and Tri-Valley Bus.
Results: Farmer’s Market - 39% said sometimes participate (23% frequently, 22% rarely, 16% never), Wildwood Park - 40% sometimes participate (29% rarely, 23% never, 7% frequently, 1% unknown), Central Park - 42% sometimes participate (28% rarely, 15% never, 14% frequently, 1% unknown), Central Park Camping - 70% never (20% rarely, 7% sometimes, 1% frequently/unknown), Red Lake River - 41% never (27% sometimes, 19% rarely, 12% frequently, 1% unknown), Franklin Park - 51% never (29% rarely, 13% sometimes, 4% unknown, 3% frequently), Downtown Amenities - 54% sometimes (23% frequently, 15% rarely, 7% never, 1% unknown), Ampride Taxi - 46% never (30% rarely, 16% sometimes, 5% unknown, 3% frequently), Tri-Valley Bus - 51% never (19% sometimes/rarely, 11% frequently.)
Section Eight asked ward residents how well they thought the Crookston Police Department handles prevention of crime, response to call for service, follow-up to calls for service, explaining crime prevention techniques to citizens, traffic enforcement and city ordinance enforcement.
Results: Prevent Crime - 41% good (27% fair, 19% very good, 9% don’t know, 5% poor), Response to Call - 44% good (25% very good, 17% don’t know, 13% fair, 2% poor), Follow up to Call - 37% good (27% don’t know, 15% fair, 14% very good, 7% poor), Explain Crime Prevention - 29% good (28% fair, 24% don’t know, 15% poor, 4% very good), Traffic Enforcement - 37% good (34% fair, 12% poor, 10% don’t know, 8% very good), City Ordinance Enforcement - 28% fair (25% good, 17% poor, 15% don’t know, 5% very good.)
Section Nine said to rate how safe or unsafe ward residents felt in their home, in their neighborhood during the day, walking alone in their neighborhood after dark, in downtown commercial areas during the day, and in downtown commercial areas after dark.
Results: In Your Home - 68% very safe (26% somewhat safe, 6% somewhat unsafe, 1% very safe), In Your Ward During the Day - 68% very safe (27% somewhat safe, 4% somewhat unsafe, 1% very unsafe), In Your Ward at Night - 45% somewhat safe (24% somewhat unsafe, 19% very safe, 11% very unsafe, 1% don’t know), Downtown during the Day - 73% very safe (23% somewhat safe, 3% somewhat unsafe), Downtown at Night - 48% somewhat safe (23% somewhat unsafe, 21% very safe, 5% very unsafe, 3% don’t know.)
Lastly, residents were asked how long they’ve lived in Ward 4, if they rent or own, how many people live in their household, how many minors live in their household, what street they live on and to share their other concerns/suggestions/comments they’d like to share with the ward committee and their Alderman.
• Homes - “Rentals need grass cut and snow shoveled”, “Value going down with too many trashy homes”, “Need program to help improve homes”, “Enforce code for garbage, junk, old cars”, “Too many abandoned buildings, tear them down.”
• CHEDA (Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority) - “CHEDA should report to the city”, “Investigate last six years of CHEDA lying and shady deals”, “CHEDA needs to be disbanded”, “CHEDA is a mess”, “End CHEDA now”, “CHEDA manager is unethical”, “Merge CHEDA with city and save money”, “What’s the real reason the Mayor and City Administrator left?”
• Crime - “Concern over packages delivered to doorstep”, “A lot of drug houses”, “Suspected drug dealers, lots of high traffic in house”, “People doing drugs in Central Park”, “Meth problems”, “Police need to spend more time in Ward”, “Crime prevention program needed.”
• Animals - “Stray cats”, “Barking dogs ALL night”, “Need to enforce leash law”, “People having too many pets”, Dog chasing people”, “Feces not collected on walks and in parks.”
• City Council - “City Council is embarrassing”, “City Council is a mess”, “Should work together as a unit and not individuals”, “Poorly run, too much arguing, not in best interest of Crookston”, “Two members should be removed”, “Get rid of two or three members”, “Some members not qualified to serve”, “Needs training in professional behavior, protocol, Roberts Rules.”
• Lighting - “Need more lighting in alley”, “Too dark on streets, adding more will reduce crime and make it safer”, “Streetlights needed on Elm Street”, “More lighting”, “Need better lighting on 7th Street and Broadway”, “Very dark on streets”, “Lighting needs yearly upgrade so residents are not overwhelmed with cost, yet getting improvements done.”
To learn more about the Ward 4 Committee, email Ward4Crookston@outlook.com, join their Facebook page “Crookston Ward 4” or follow them on Instagram “Ward4Crookston.”