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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 7:33 pm | Fair 56º


Goleta Residents Support Old Town Upgrades in Latest Community Survey

Respondents cite need for upgrading the Old Town area, improving parking, pedestrian and bike-friendly routes, and attracting new businesses to Old Town

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Residents who responded to Goleta’s community survey supported upgrades to Old Town, which includes the 5700 block of Hollister Avenue.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The results are in for the city of Goleta’s community survey conducted between late-July and mid-August and according to the data, residents report high satisfaction overall. 

The City Council discussed the results of the survey, which had 451 respondents, at Tuesday's meeting.

Timothy McLarney, president of the company that conducted the survey and tallied results for the city, True North Research Inc., also made a presentation at the meeting. 

Survey results showed a high level of satisfaction with the city’s performance on overall quality of life, overall performance in providing municipal services, resident communication and service provided by city staff, McLarney said.

There’s widespread perceived support and need for upgrading the Old Town area, improving parking, pedestrian and bike-friendly routes and attracting new businesses to Old Town, according to survey results.

“It does feel like we got a good report card,” Councilman Kyle Richards said.

Following Tuesday’s presentation, staff will take a closer look at the results in the context of the city’s programs and services, and consider the feedback for future planning, according to the city.  

“We should look at what the public is requesting,” Councilman Stuart Kasdin said of the survey results.

The last time Goleta put out a survey to residents was in 2008, when a phone survey was conducted to determine the community’s satisfaction with city services and to gauge the public’s knowledge of the revenue neutrality agreement, according to city staff.

Some of the responses to the community survey were as follows: 

Regarding Old Town Goleta, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) reported visiting Old Town at least once a week, and 14 percent visit nearly every day. 

Nine in 10 residents reported that Old Town has areas that are run-down and need upgrades — and not just to its appearance, which many ranked as fair, or poor. 

The vast majority of respondents (82 percent) reported that they were very or somewhat satisfied with the city’s efforts to provide municipal services. About 11 percent were very or somewhat dissatisfied, whereas 7 percent did not respond to those questions.  

Respondents were most satisfied with the city’s efforts to provide fire protection and prevention services, followed by library services, police and crime prevention services, trash and recycling services, and animal control services. 

Overall, more than 70 percent of respondents indicated they were satisfied with the city’s efforts to communicate with residents through newsletters, the internet, local media and other outlets. 

Residents shared generally favorable opinions of Goleta in general, ranking it highly for overall quality of life and being a good place to raise a family.

Ratings were lower for Goleta as a good place to work and a place to retire, according to the data, and McLarney said the results are “typical numbers.”

When asked to identify what they like most about living in Goleta that the city government should preserve in the future, residents cited the open space areas/nature preserves (41 percent), followed by the small town/rural atmosphere (16 percent), parks/recreation areas (14 percent) and beaches/ocean (12 percent). They also cited Goleta’s public safety/low crime rate (6 percent) and minimal traffic congestion (5 percent).

Goleta joins other local cities in declaring homeless shelter crisis

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the City Council unanimously approved declaring a "shelter crisis," making Goleta eligible to get millions of dollars from California in block grant funds to address homelessness in the city. 

According to city management analyst Dana Grossi, Senate Bill 850 — signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in June 2018 — introduced a $500 million block grant program, called the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or HEAP, to provide direct assistance to counties and cities to address immediate homeless challenges in their jurisdictions. 

HEAP funds are intended to provide one-time immediate emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness, Grossi said.

By declaring a shelter crisis, Goleta is eligible to apply for the HEAP money, and it was one of several local cities to do so on Tuesday. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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