ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) - Onalaska residents have given the City of Onalaska a "good" rating (4 out of 5) for working on behalf of the community, according to the Onalaska 2014 Community Survey results.
In April, the City of Onalaska mailed more than 9,000 surveys to its residents to gauge how the City is doing and what areas they should improve and focus on in the future.
The City received 1,059 completed surveys.
"We were very excited to see the amount of survey responses we received and have already started responding to comments made by Onalaska residents," said Katie Meyer, Onalaska planner and zoning inspector.
Based on the survey results, the three most important issues the City should focus on are: 1) maintaining a good school system, 2) the retention and expansion of local employers, and 3) improving and rehabilitating streets.
The community also wants the City to focus on promoting public health and an active community and enforcing property maintenance standards. Feedback on provision of community services to citizens received a good rating (4 out of 5) and the medical facilities were considered "excellent."
A recent survey in Onalaska suggests that residents are happy with the services provided to them on a daily basis.
This past April, more than 9,000 residents were asked to complete a survey about the city. Just under 13 percent returned the survey and gave the city a rating of four out of five when it comes to the services it provides.
However, there is always room for improvement, and one of the main suggestions would help one business owner as she continues to grow her cycling business.
Emily Vance has been in the bike business since she was 15 years old.
"Of course I started out bottom of the totem pole, crushing cardboard, cleaning toilets, doing basic things," said Vance.
Now she is the proud owner of River Trail Cycles in Onalaska.
"Onalaska just seemed to be a great fit for our business. Our close proximity to the bike trail was definitely key," said Vance.
Vance couldn't be happier with how business is going, but she knows there is always room for improvement.
Back in April, she filled out that survey for the City of Onalaska.
"I remember just some aspects as looking for what kind of connections does your business have with other local establishments," said Vance.
The city is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan for 2015.
"Every policy that the city does and the majority of the decisions that we make have to be found within the plan," said Meyer. "So what people have to say here is definitely going to have the opportunity to update, to remove objectives or goals that are no longer valid."
"Our highest was police and fire, and their number two category was excellent so we are definitely doing very well in emergency response to the community," said Meyer.
However, there are some areas where residents would like to see improvements.
"Having a public and healthy and active community was very well shown within the area," said Meyer. "People want to see more trails, and they want bike lanes and bike paths and they want more connectivity."
Something Vance would approve of -- after all, it is one of the reasons she moved her business to Onalaska in the first place.
"Been one of the best moves I have made in the eight and a half years of business," said Vance.
The last survey the city of Onalaska conducted was back in 2003. However, the same three areas of concern showed up in the 2014 survey as well. Those areas are maintaining a good school system, retaining and expanding local employers and maintaining road conditions. The planning and zoning inspector says that just shows the city is already moving in the right direction.
Meyer said the survey also showed that Onalaska residents feel future development should concentrate on entertainment and attractions, single family homes, industry/manufacturing and senior housing.
Public opinion of police and fire services ranked highest, followed closely by the operation of City water, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer utilities and recreational programs.
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