Every two years, the City of Shakopee conducts a community-wide survey to gather residents' opinions about the quality of life in Shakopee. This is an important way the City Council and staff measure city services and the community's needs and wants.
In early 2019, the city partnered with National Citizen Survey to conduct a survey of residents’ opinions about the quality of life in Shakopee. More than 800 residents responded via a paper copy or through the city’s website.
Comparing the data to our 2016 survey results, the city identified several areas where the city has improved.
- Residents are more favorably rating Shakopee’s downtown and special events. The improvements to downtown and popularity of public events are drawing more people to the downtown area, which, in turn, is being viewed as more vibrant. The downtown area and its continued improvement are important to residents.
- The Shakopee Community Center remodel also impacted residents’ ratings of the city’s recreation center facilities. The community’s positive ratings (excellent and good) increased from 66 to 80 percent. More people also reported using the Community Center.
- The city’s customer service marks also improved from 2016, which is attributed to staff’s increased focus on providing residents, businesses and visitors with top-notch service.
Overall, the majority of responses in the 2019 survey area similar to 2016. Shakopee residents look favorably on the city’s mobility and economic opportunities. Most Shakopee residents also feel as though the value for city services is excellent or good across all categories.
However, the survey results do identify areas of disconnect between residents’ perceptions of Shakopee and reality. For example, 64 percent of Shakopee residents consider Shakopee a safe place to live, near the bottom of 18 comparable metro cities that also use this survey. However, objective data (such as crime rate and case clearance) indicate Shakopee ranks about seventh.
Similarly, among comparable cities, Shakopee consistently ranks low in resident perception of the community as an excellent or good place to live, work and play, and only 48 percent of residents think Shakopee has a positive image. Yet, 80 percent of residents would recommend living in Shakopee.
The truth is, perception is reality, and the City of Shakopee faces challenges in how its residents perceive the community. City staff think these results are not where Shakopee wants to be. We can use these results as an opportunity to move forward with those strategies, projects and day-to-day work that will improve the community. In recognition of this, at the April 16 City Council meeting, staff will be making the following recommendations to the council:
- Acknowledge we have work to do and take these results as an opportunity.
- Identify what is important and set goals.
- Communicate strategically so residents can form informed opinions.
- Communicate proactively to build trust between the city government and the community.
- Engage in strategic planning.