SEIRPC, HHCC meet to discuss public survey results
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
A Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC) public survey issued in February 2016 yielded few surprises, according to the Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) board. Nevertheless, the board, along with members of the SEIRPC, reviewed the results of the survey on Tuesday.
The survey, which will be added to a comprehensive plan for the City of Mt. Pleasant, featured various questions regarding what the public would like to see regarding major changes and developments in the town. The overall goal of the comprehensive plan is to give city officials a guide on ways to better enhance the quality of life for citizens of the Mt. Pleasant and surrounding areas.
“Overall, we received a total of a little over 300 responses from this survey, which isn’t too bad,” said Zach James, of SEIRPC, who assisted in presenting the results of the survey to the HHCC board. “It should be noted that over 68 percent who took the survey rated quality of life in Mt. Pleasant ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, which means this group and the city are on the right track overall.”
The main areas of concern that were shown from the survey included better amenities for a growing senior citizen population in the city, more affordable housing, more ADA-accessible connecting trails and sidewalks throughout the city, more resources for a growing ethnically diverse community, and better city-wide engagement with Iowa Wesleyan University.
Overall, the board felt that while the survey was indeed necessary to gauge the public’s views on where they wanted the city to focus on in regard to improvements, the board felt that they were aware of most of these issues and are actively trying to focus on many of them as a community-wide group.
“I think the only issue that I am surprised isn’t mentioned here is lack of affordable, quality childcare,” said HHCC coordinator, Kelly Carr, to which the board agreed. “That is an issue that has been talked about so much in Mt. Pleasant, but it’s an issue that is county-wide I think.”
The SEIRPC team agreed, saying that it could be added to the plan. Moreover, the SEIRPC team said that many of these concerns held by citizens of Mt. Pleasant are also held by citizens in the surrounding cities in the county, as shown in data collections by SEIRPC.
Additionally, the HHCC board said that they would like to see the city keep the expansion of sidewalks and trails at the forefront as they go about reviewing this plan and making decisions on how to tackle these issues. HHCC has been actively working to make more connecting sidewalks and trails in Mt. Pleasant a reality for some time.
“This comprehensive plan is just a tool, or a guide for the city,” said James. “The way that some of these improvements are made, however, is just as dependent on citizens as it is on city officials. There are a lot of factors that go into addressing some of these issues, but groups like this (HHCC) can have a major, positive impact.”
After the SEIRPC presentation, the board moved to discuss the plan as it relates to HHCC more in depth at their next meeting.
HHCC will meet again as a full board on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m., at the HCHC Health Education Center.