News & Media

Kelly Ryan Column: Survey Says: No Ghost Town Here

Thu. Jul 19, 2012

By: Kelly Ryan, CEO

Thank you, residents, for taking the time to voice your pride, your concerns and your ideas for the future of our community. Over 4,000 of you participated in the largest public opinion survey conducted in the south Wood County area. We are pleased to share the results.

In an effort to allow participants the opportunity to share a variety of opinions, the survey was very complex. It included multiple-choice, open-ended, and other types of questions. As the research team from Edge Research stated in their presentation earlier this month, to ensure that the accuracy and integrity of the survey is upheld, the results must be viewed with great care and within the context of the type of question that was asked.

When reviewing the results, four priority areas emerged:

  • A Strong Economy – without prompting, 92% of respondents mentioned jobs and economic growth/security as the most important issue facing the community
  • Opportunities for Young Adults & Families – attracting and retaining youth is a widespread concern
  • Openness to New Ideas & Change – openness was identified as a top indicator of quality of life; 76% of residents are ready for change
  • Nature & Recreation – also identified as a top indicator of quality of life; residents want growth that includes preservation of open space and natural resource assets

To view the full report, please visit www.incouragecf.org or call 715-423-3863 and we will mail a copy of the results to you. Please help us get the word out about the survey results – an informed community is a strong community. Share it with your friends, family and neighbors. Talk about it. There are current opportunities and new, future opportunities to get involved in supporting the four areas identified.

A vibrant, thriving community must be informed and engaged. Data is a critical companion to public opinion. That is why we commissioned UW-Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) to produce Vital Signs, a semiannual report that documents the vitality and economic health of the south Wood County area. It will show us where we are starting from, as well as our future direction. I invite you to join us on July 24 for our Vital Signs presentation and release. We’ll provide additional information about this event in the near future.

Nearly 1,000 survey respondents said they wanted to be part of follow-up action, including being part of a comprehensive community strategy. We need your input and engagement, whether you participated in the survey or not. At Incourage, we love our community and believe in its people. The future of this community depends on everyone – you, me, us, and them – making our voices heard, listening to others, and aligning resources and efforts toward a connected strategy for our future.

So, mark your calendar for the July 24 Vital Signs presentation, share the survey results with others, and think about where you can get engaged. The future of our community is at stake; doing nothing is not an option.

  • Press Contact

    [email protected] | 715.423.3863
  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.