News - McHenry County

The survey says: Woodstock residents like their city, but want roads fixed.

Mayor Mike Turner said community survey results were ‘new territory’ in looking at what residents want, are satisfied with

Woodstock unveiled its community survey results at its July 19, 2022 meeting. The survey was open from June 16 to July 16.

Woodstock unveiled the results of its community survey that showed road work is among the top priorities for residents, along with satisfaction with the city’s library.

About 1,760 people responded to the survey, which was open from June 16 to July 16. The City Council reviewed the results at its meeting Tuesday.

The survey of 21 questions gauged how residents felt about several aspects about the city, including various facilities, along with the direction of the city and how people receive their information.

Woodstock’s population sits at about 25,630, meaning the survey represents a little less than 7% of the population and 18% of households, according to the results. Marketing and communications manager Heather Arnold said at the meeting this was considered a good sample size.

“We’ve used surveys in the past, but maybe not to this extent,” Mayor Mike Turner said.

The survey also used a “net promoter score” that looks at the likelihood someone will recommend a certain thing to another. In Woodstock’s case, the survey looked at city programming, living and visiting Woodstock, parks and the library.

“The world lives and dies on [net promoter] scores,” Turner said. “This is a valuable starting point.”

Some highlights from the results show road repairs were the largest priority for residents, with sidewalks and walkability coming second, according to the results. Parks, communication, recycling and bicycle routes followed.

Council member Gordie Tebo asked if the results were weighed by intensity of the responses, suggesting that he doubts the results can be ranked that way. Officials involved with the survey clarified it is ranked by the city’s priorities based on the results.

“The passion for each one of those [categories] might be completely different,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful with the strength of the feeling on each one of these.”

Road construction on Dean Street in Woodstock on Thursday, June 16, 2022. Construction on Dean Street and the new roundabout at the intersection of South Street, Madison Street and Lake Avenue has created issues for some local businesses. A few businesses, particularly on the Square, are worried about the effect the work will have on their business this year and next year.

Those surveyed were favorable of the Woodstock Public Library, with its net promoter score ending up at 22.53, which is considered “great,” according to city material. A zero is considered “a good, neutral score.”

While living in Woodstock had a score of -7.6, which is below what is considered a neutral score, visiting Woodstock got a score of 11.23.

The Recreation Center and recreation programming, along with Stage Left Cafe, which is connected to the Woodstock Opera House, were the lowest scores on the chart, with many of those surveyed saying they were neutral on recommending them, according to the results.

Despite this, across all categories surveyed, very few chose to say they would “strongly not recommend” something.

On a scale from 1 to 100, those surveyed graded Woodstock parks at a 66. Another scaled question asked if those surveyed believe Woodstock is “committed to actively supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.” The score was a 69.

Rounding out the results, those surveyed were asked if they would consider participating in a focus group to help Woodstock’s planning. About 72.5% said they were not interested, according to the results.

Turner said at the meeting this was not a one-time assessment, and hopes it will be updated annually. There will be more information coming out on the survey, including a potential breakdown of how the results were affected by the respondent’s age.

Council member Bob Seegers Jr. said he felt the council should be making decisions based on results like the survey.

“I love this kind of stuff,” he said. “We cannot make decisions as a council based on the number of residents ... that are sitting in the audience and speaking at this meeting. ... This council needs to make decisions based exactly off of this type of survey.”