City: It’s high time for a Citizen Summit

The city is planning a party for planning.

“The mayor and city council have emphasized the importance of citizen feedback as we update the strategic plan,” Kate Parmalee, strategic planning coordinator, said.

The city will host its inaugural #IamPSL Citizen Summit on Tuesday, May 8, at the Port St. Lucie Community Center, 2195 SE Airoso Blvd. The drop-in event will be 5:30 to 8 p.m. People will have chances to give their opinions about several things.

“What types of special events do you want?” Parmalee said. “Walking trails – where would you like those to be? Parks?”

Parmalee said information will flow two ways. “The residents will get to meet the people behind the projects,” she said. “You can quickly find out what the city is working on and our strategic goals.”

The citizen summit follows on the city’s recent citizen survey, which was done in February. National Research Center did the city’s 2018 National Citizen Survey.

“We had over 5,000 people take the survey online,” Parmalee said.

The survey was sent to 1,500 randomly-selected addresses. Additionally, it was placed online for any to complete. The city did a similar survey in 2009.

Parmalee said the biggest takeaway is that the vast majority of respondents ranked PSL as a great place to live. More than 80 percent of respondents said living in Port St. Lucie is excellent or good. That’s up almost 20 percent since the city did the similar survey in 2009.

The survey was geared to get citizen’s opinions on safety, mobility, the environment, economy, recreational opportunities, education, and citizen engagement with local government.

Even with high opinions about the quality of life, respondents were less positive about specific areas affecting the quality of life. For example, only about a third felt positive about getting around in the city. Driving got the highest number of positive opinions – 57 percent. That drops to 23 percent positive opinions about public transportation. Other modes of transportation fell between the two in positive opinions.

Folks seem to like the air quality around Port St. Lucie. Nearly 80 percent expressed positive opinions about it. New development also got high ratings with 53 percent expressing positive opinions about it.

However, respondents seemed concerned about the overall economic health of Port St. Lucie. Less than half of them, 45 percent, expressed positive opinions of it on the recent survey. That drops to 41 percent having positive opinions about the city’s economic development. Additionally, less than half of respondents, 46 percent, expressed positive opinions about the local primary education, kindergarten to 12th grade.

The city’s parks got high marks from nearly 75 percent of respondents. The county’s four libraries in Port St. Lucie got slightly better marks.

Still, when asked about the value of services for taxes paid, respondents turned negative. Only 40 percent expressed positive opinions on that. Also getting low marks was confidence in city government. Only 43 percent of respondents expressed positive opinions about it.

Parmalee said with the survey done the city now wants to turn numbers into ideas and projects. “We want to have the conversation with the residents,” she said. “Now we’ve got the broad overview and want to fine tune it more.”

Additional information about the citizen survey and upcoming summit is at the city’s website, www.cityofpsl.com.

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