Results from three different 2021 Town of Ashland surveys were presented at the Town Council meeting on Tues., Feb. 1st. While the intent, timing, and methodology of the National Community Survey, Business Survey, and Community Engagement Survey differed, key takeaways from these surveys tell a compelling story about what it feels and looks like to live and work here in Ashland today. What is great about this community? Where are there opportunities for improvement?
Thank you to everyone that participated in one or all of these surveys. Your feedback is invaluable, deeply appreciated, and will be a primary topic of discussion at Town Council's retreat on Fri., Feb. 18th, and will help inform the investments the Town makes in FY22-FY23.
National Community Survey (NCS)
- NCS captures residents’ opinions considering 10 central
facets of a community and provides the opinions of a representative sample of 446
residents of the Town of Ashland collected from Aug. 27th-Oct. 15th, 2021.
- Ashland residents appreciate their quality of life in the community. About 9 in 10 residents rated Ashland as a place to live, the overall quality of life in the Town, and Ashland as a place to raise children as excellent or good.
- The economy is an important asset to the community. About three-quarters of residents positively rated Ashland as a place to work, as a place to visit, and the overall quality of
business and service establishments in the Town.
- The number one priority that emerged
was employing economic development strategies to enhance downtown retail/commercial areas to bring additional visitors, customers, and revenue to Ashland.
- Community Design is a possible area of opportunity. 95% of residents indicated that increasing the number of
and improving public green spaces should be a high or medium priority, about 6 in 10 felt that neighborhood revitalization was essential or very important, and three-quarters
rated the redevelopment and revitalization of aging shopping centers and other commercial sites as important.
The full NCS survey report is available here and results from past surveys are available here.
- The 2021 Business Survey was sent to business owners within the Town limits via mail, email, social media, and the business hotline. It ran from Dec. 8th-31st, 2021, and received 65 responses.
- 91% of respondents rated Ashland as an Excellent or Good place to do business.
- The Greater Richmond Region provided the largest customer base to respondents.
- 45% of business respondents are struggling with workforce challenges related to the lack of availability of
- Overall, respondents are satisfied with working with the Town when opening a
business, the Town’s efforts to support and create an environment their business
can survive in, and Ashland as a place to conduct business.
The complete Business Survey presentation to Town Council is available here. Questions? Contact Nicole Preisner.
Community Engagement Survey
- The purpose of the 2021 Community Engagement survey was to determine how well the Town is communicating with residents. It was distributed via email, social media, and the Town's website, and responses are comprised of 75 online respondents and 34 in-person or phone interviews.
- The majority of respondents characterized communication from the Town as “good” but not great. Clear and consistent information ahead of time is where the Town can improve our efforts.
- Town events, public hearings, zoning issues, the Town budget process, and neighborhood news are of most interest to the community.
- Email is the preferred communication channel, with texts (for emergencies), the Town
website, social media, and in-person also noted.
- Lack of time is the number one barrier to involvement. More advance notice of meetings and
a better understanding of the issues would help incentivize participation.
- Residents would appreciate more outreach by Town staff and Town Council to all facets of the community, as well as better representation on Town boards, committees, and elected positions.
The complete Community Engagement Survey presentation to Town Council is available here. Questions? Contact Martha J. Miller.