Survey Says: De Pere residents love their city
BY LEE REINSCH
DE PERE – If residents who took the most recent city services survey are representative of the typical De Pere resident, then your chances of running into someone who loves De Pere are pretty good.
An impressive 95% of survey takers rated the community as an excellent (51%) or good (44%) place to live.
Odds are also decent that the type of person you run into would be someone who places a high priority on clean drinking water (as 87% of survey respondents say they do), composts their yard waste (60%), and feels that the city should place a high emphasis on sustainable infrastructure (55%).
Seventy percent said the city should make preserving the natural environment (air, water, and land) a high priority.
In a world so politically torn asunder, how is it possible so many people can actually agree on so much?
Maybe there’s something in the water.
“This shows there’s an interest in maintaining the natural environment, and working … to keep what we have,” De Pere City Administrator Larry Delo said. “A lot of people are saying they would like us to expand our efforts to preserve the natural environment — air, water, and land.”
He said he wasn’t surprised that folks ranked nature pretty highly; what surprised him was how many people did so.
“If you look at those who said that (preserving the natural environment) was a high priority (70%), and those who said it was a moderate priority (26%), you’ve got 96% of the community saying that they want to make sure we keep what we have,” Delo said.
He said the city works hard to improve water access.
De Pere has a number of trails – the Fox River, the East River, and the Preserve trail systems.
“We’re a city with three boat launches, and nobody else in the area has that,” he said. “We have parks all over the place, we have urban orchards, we put a green roof on City Hall, so there are things we’ve done over time to continue to bring that (environmental preservation value) forward.”
When it comes to public safety, the majority of survey respondents (62%) said they were happy with the amount of time police spend patrolling their neighborhoods.
Only 8% said they felt police spend too much time in their neighborhoods, while 21% say police don’t spend enough time policing their neighborhoods and 9% were unsure.
Ninety-two percent of survey respondents said they strongly (65%) or somewhat (27%) agree that they feel welcome in DePere.
While 42% of survey respondents said that they strongly or somewhat agreed that De Pere is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community, a larger portion (45%) reported that they were not sure.
So what does Delo make of this?
“I guess the best way to interpret it is when somebody says they’re unsure, what that means is they most likely don’t have the experience or the relationships with people that would give them the ability to really draw an opinion,” Delo said.
Considering that only 20% disagreed that De Pere was a welcoming place for LGBTQ, it’s a two-to-one margin in favor of De Pere being welcoming.
“So I really don’t interpret that as a negative,” Delo said. “If it was flipped, and we had that many people saying it wasn’t welcoming, then I’d be much more concerned about it. With the numbers we have, I’m pretty comfortable with it.”
Surveys were anonymous, with the only identifying characteristic being the ward in which the survey taker lives.
Delo said the city will go through the survey more closely with St. Norbert College, which conducted it, in order to see what community needs they need to address.
For example, if those who were not satisfied with how often police patrolled their neighborhoods live in a certain part of town, perhaps adjustments would be made.
“We always like to see, are there things we’re missing or things we can improve or tweak that might make the community or the services we provide better?”