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And the survey says ...

And the survey says ...

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Last month’s Grow Grand Island article published here in The Independent encouraged those who live in or near Grand Island to take a quick survey to express their community development wishes for the future.

There were 120 people who took the survey, and 100-plus who expressed their thoughts via Facebook on the Grow Grand Island post shared by The Independent. First and foremost, thank you for speaking up!

Of the 120 survey respondents, 50.8% were age 25-49, 25.8% were under age 25, and 23.3% were age 50 and older. Additionally, 64.2% of survey respondents have lived in or near Grand Island for more than 15 years, 20% between 5-16 years, and 15.8% less than 5 years.

Since the survey asked open ended questions, and the Facebook posts were comments, the data is reflected here in common themes. Here are the things that were mentioned the most across the survey and Facebook:

1. You want things to do — inside and outside. Especially those targeted toward families, teens and young adults.

2. You want shopping options — unique small businesses as well as big box stores (specifically popular were Target and Trader Joe’s). Saving our mall was mentioned as well.

3. You want entertainment options — live music, art, and updated movie theaters (specifically mentioned were reclining seats).

4. You want to see Railside and Fourth Street continue to develop, and to include amenities and parking.

5. You want our hike/bike trails to be more connected and expanded. You also enjoy our parks and want them kept up well.

6. You believe the area could use more beautification, especially around Highway 281.

7. You want swimming pool options — inside and outside. Specifically mentioned were the YMCA pool, enhancements to Island Oasis, and adding a “sprinkler park.”

8. You want more transportation options, and better walkability (specifically mentioned were sidewalks where there are none).

9. You want affordable housing/property taxes.

10. You want more business/industry that would generate high-skill, high-wage jobs.

This is just the top 10! When these ideas are meshed into discussions by visionaries, developers, community leaders, boards, councils and committees of all types, we should be able to look back 10 years from now and see the difference.

This is the challenge extended to all who can turn ideas into action. It is time for planning, partnering and doing.

Tonja Brown is the implementation chair for Grow Grand Island Area Partnership. Grow Grand Island was established as a partnership involving the city, county, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Economic Development Corp. to develop and implement an ongoing, dynamic strategic plan to guide community growth and prosperity.

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As I sit here in my home on a brutally frigid Sunday morning listening to the KNVL Polka Show, I am transported back to another place and time. My mind wanders back to the countless Whoopi John requests that we would enjoy on our road trip to see one of our all-time favorite priests, Father James Murphy. We were on our way up to Mass in Ericson where he was always waiting to give us a big hug and a smile.

Father Murphy died Jan. 21 at the age of 94.

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