Savage’s sports dome, deeply controversial at the time, is being greeted with enthusiasm now that it’s up.
Or so city officials are tempted to surmise from preliminary data in the latest community survey.
The share of residents who rated overall park facilities as “excellent” shot from 24 percent to 56 percent, an extraordinary change in two years, while the merely “good” rating dropped from 70 to 33 percent.
That ranks Savage among the top three metro-area cities on that measure, analysts said.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they have used the multimillion-dollar seasonal sports dome, which went up in 2012 to a chorus of concern from neighbors and fiscal conservatives.
In the latest survey, though, approval of both youth and adult recreational services jumped: on the adult end from 49 percent in 2012 to 67 percent today and for youth rec from 59 to 73 percent.
City officials may be tempted to keep right on building, considering the support expressed for more new amenities: recreational trails (70 percent support), a teen center (68 percent), a baseball complex (58 percent), a band shell (52 percent), and a splash park (51 percent).
There was less support for an indoor basketball complex (49 percent), an indoor ice arena (46 percent) or outdoor refrigerated ice (30 percent).
City officials are working to extend the trail system and are actively considering some new amenities, such as a baseball park and a splash pad.
Not everything was sweetness and light.
One negative: rising concern about streets. As a city service, approval plunged from 84 percent to 62 percent.
Another is concern about drugs, which rose from 9 percent to 29 percent from 2010 to 2012 and crept higher still this year, to 32 percent.
Concern about crime striking residential areas is marching upward as well, from 22 percent in 2010 to 34 percent this year. Those with no public safety concerns melted from 48 percent to 33 percent.
There also remains a strong contingent in the city who’d favor service cuts in exchange for tax cuts: nearly 30 percent. The number strongly opposing such an idea dropped.
But the quality-of-life rating kept climbing, with 46 percent declaring it excellent, up from 30 percent in 2007 after steady ticks upward in between.
On the “most serious issue” front, “nothing” jumped from 8 percent to 28 percent while “taxes” subsided from 31 percent in 2010 to 16 percent today. “Growth” dropped as the “most serious issue,” too: from 18 to 8 percent.
The share of those describing the “general condition and appearance of homes” in town as excellent kept climbing, from 8 percent in 2007 to 28 percent today.
Perception of city hall friendliness also jumped, with 54 percent rating as excellent the ease of conducting business vs. just 29 percent in 2012.
Communications got a solid vote as well, as “excellent” ratings jumped from 7 percent to 18 percent, while “only fair” has slid from 22 percent in 2007 to 7 percent today.
Eighty-eight percent feel informed in a timely manner about decisions made by the Savage City Council, and the 18 percent “excellent” rating is the highest in the area, the survey firm reported.
Compared to other cities surveyed, said pollster Morris Leatherman, Savage’s delivery of services rates in the top 25 percent and quality of life near the top. The value of city services ranks among the top 10 percent.
About the survey
The market and research firm administered an 80-question telephone survey to 400 Savage households between April 24 and May 9. Morris presented the findings to the Savage City Council last week.
The city had an online version of the survey that residents could take if they were not randomly selected for the formal one. Nearly 300 completed that survey, and results were similar to those from the telephone version.
Presentations on both versions can be viewed at cityofsavage.com/savage-tv-online.