Runners Race

Parks, Recreational Trails Top Residents’ List as Most Important Civic Amenities

Sailor bar kayaks parkway
News release
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Author:
Christine Ault

New research shows a majority of residents would pay $21-30 in increased annual taxes

SACRAMENTO, CA — Valley Vision and Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) released findings today from a public opinion survey that captured regional attitudes on civic and cultural amenities. When asked to rank the amenity that most influences their quality of life, respondents ranked parks and recreational trails as No.1 – choosing parks and trails six times more than the next highest ranking. Another notable finding is that a majority of people across most demographics would pay $21-30 annually in increased taxes to support local cultural, art, or natural amenities.

Valley Vision and ISR have teamed up to field surveys that collect opinions of our region’s residents. The polls will provide unprecedented opinion research on matters important to our region’s future.  “Teaming together, we are using a proven, scientific method scaled to California’s Capital Region to unlock the views and opinions of local residents on critical issues and share them with local policy makers,” said Valley Vision chief executive Bill Mueller.

Bringing independent public opinion research to our region’s decision-makers is just part of a set of new activities Valley Vision has launched to bring focus and new energy to the civic leadership organization.  Valley Vision also now is taking stands on priority regional issues that merit attention, has expanded its geographic service area into San Joaquin Valley, and is taking more steps to support collective action among the region’s private and public sector leadership. 

“This new, high-value information can be used to shape decision-making and policy priorities and can empower regional leadership to proactively address and take action that supports expressed public priorities, values, and trends,” said ISR director David Barker. “With no one else conducting public opinion polling at a regional level like this in California – if not the country – we believe the findings offer unique insight and untapped viewpoints that reflect community attitudes.”

The survey defined civic and cultural amenities as regional attractions that improve residents’ quality of life and enhance the attractiveness of the region to outsiders. They are physical places such as museums, art galleries, sports venues, riverfront attractions, theatres and recreational areas; and organized festivals and community activities where people like to congregate. The research findings show that support for these amenities transcends age, gender, wealth, and political affiliation and illustrate that civic amenities are a critically important component of people’s lives.

Top-level findings from the civic amenities poll include:

  • 91% consider civic and cultural amenities important to their personal well-being and quality of life.
  • 95% consider amenities important for the image of Sacramento to people living outside the region.
  • About 87% of respondents consider public amenities important for attracting visitors, while 93% consider amenities an important factor for individuals and families to relocate to the region.
  • 80% consider amenities important for attracting businesses to the region.
  • 90% support greater public investment in such amenities.

“Understanding local perspectives like these is as critical as ever to informed decision-making,” said Mueller. “With the scientific survey mechanism that ISR provides, Valley Vision can now deliver in-depth understanding of residents’ views on pressing issues affecting the region and will use this powerful new tool to inform regional decision-making and catalyze community conversation.”

See the full Regional Attitudes on Civic Amenities research report. The next poll, scheduled for mid-year, will gauge resident attitudes and preferences on transportation and access.  A third poll will be commissioned in the fall.  

The civic amenities survey collected responses from 748 residents in Sacramento County and specific zip codes in Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties, with a ±4% margin of sampling error.

“This is just the first in a series of public opinion polling that Valley Vision and ISR will conduct multiple times annually.” said Mueller. 

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