By Kevin Kelley
Eighty-four percent of residents who participated in a recent survey on lifestyle issues said they planned to remain in the city for the long term, defined as more than five years.
The survey was conducted in association with the updating of Fairview Park’s master plan, now under way. A committee of 19 city leaders and volunteers has been meeting since the spring to draft a plan that identifies and addresses community goals for the next decade or so. Committee members drafted the survey questions.
Residents who subscribe to the city’s e-mail newsletter, “Main Street Connection,” were invited to take the online survey, posted on the Survey Monkey website. Two-hundred fifty persons took the survey. (Residents may still take the online poll. Although it was not a random poll, Fairview Park development Director Jim Kennedy noted that, among participants, there was a nice spread of respondents, particularly in terms of age groups and length of time they have lived in the city.
“The idea is to start coordinating results of the survey into discussions at the (Master Plan Steering Committee) meetings for the identification of focus areas,” Kennedy said.
Of the 16 percent who answered that they did not plan on staying in the city more than five years, taxes was the top reason given. High taxes was also given as the most frequent response – provided by 70 people – to the question, “What are the city’s biggest challenges or problems?”
In comparison to quickly growing communities like Avon or North Ridgeville, a mature suburb such as Fairview Park is going to have higher taxes, Kennedy said.
“We’re a typical, fully built-out community,” Kennedy explained.
Other problems respondents listed were vacancies (30 respondents), property maintenance (19), apartments/low-cost housing (15) and sewers (10).
The top destinations within the city listed by survey participants were the Gemini Center, Westgate and Fairview Park Branch Library.
In response to the request to describe one’s impression of Lorain Road in one word, 71 percent gave a negative response, such as “outdated/rundown” or “dirty/unattractive.” Twenty-nine percent gave a positive response, using such words as “improving” or “convenient.”
Half of respondents said they walked or biked along Lorain Road.
Asked what services they would like to see available within the city, residents’ highest response was restaurants. Kennedy interpreted this as a desire for more fine dining establishments, given the significant number of casual restaurants in the city.
Many survey participants indicated they did grocery shopping at either Fairview Centre or Westgate. However, grocery shopping was the top response given when asked what services take them outside of Fairview Park even though those services are offered within the city.
Kennedy said the survey revealed no surprising or exciting results. He said this may indicate a satisfaction about what has been accomplished in the city over the past decade or so, even though the administration of Mayor Eileen Patton does not intend to stop pursuing improvements.
“When you think about it, an awful lot has been accomplished over the last 12 years,” Kennedy said.
The Master Plan Steering Committee’s intent is to identify targeted goals, especially potential development projects, Kennedy said. The group, which will meet through November, will be discussing housing and infrastructure issues in the coming months, he added.
City Architecture, a Cleveland firm that provides architecture, urban design and city planning services, is serving as the consultant for the update of the master plan. The firm will begin writing a report at the end of the year.