School, safety receive high marks; retail lacking

A recent survey of Rosemount residents showed the majority support of some kind of recreational facility, whether it’s a pool, walking track or fitness center.

The results of a mail-in survey conducted by the National Research Center were shared with the Rosemount City Council on Tuesday.

The survey was not part of a feasibility study the council approved last month.

About 38 percent of residents surveyed said they’d strongly support raising property taxes for a facility, while 33 percent said they were somewhat supportive. About 14 percent were strongly opposed and 14 percent were somewhat opposed to the idea.

There was also support for raising property taxes for a new public works facility or police station with 48 percent somewhat supporting the measure and 18 percent strongly supporting it.

Overall, about 54 percent felt property taxes were about right, while 33 percent said taxes were a little too high and 9 percent said much too high.

National Research Center has been doing survey throughout the country for years, so the city was able to use the data to compare itself to other municipalities.

NRC sent surveys to 1,600 households and 575 returned the surveys.

City Administrator Logan Martin said the city tries to survey residents every two years.

New this year were the mailed surveys.

Erin Caldwell, research director with the NRC, said mailed surveys can elicit more candid answers than phone surveys.

She said in general people feel happy about living in Rosemount, but the economy is a concern with the lack of retail and downtown development.

Answers about retail and business questions were lower than the national benchmarks.

Less than half have gave positive ratings to shopping areas and the retail development of downtown.

Mayor Bill Droste said improved retail services is something the City Council recognizes as a place to focus on in the coming years.

“The retail world is changing,” Droste said. “We still have to figure out what are the niche businesses and how we can make it more palatable to move in here to open a business.”

Council member Jeff Weisensel said bringing business and retail is consistent with some of the council’s goals.

The survey found that residents feel safe and consider it important that it stay that way.

Both the police department and crime prevention ratings were above the national benchmark.

People think it’s easy to get around in Rosemount, whether it’s by vehicle, bicycle or on foot, survey results show.

Droste noted “significant investments in the last 10-15 years in streets, bike lanes and trails.”

“Overall transportation amenities, there’s strong support for the trails, biking paths and bike lanes,” Droste said.

He said Dakota County and the city have several more improvements in store.

People also really like the schools in Rosemount; adult, K-12 and preschool education all received higher marks than average.

Droste thanked the school district and noted recent investments made in Rosemount schools.

Council Member Mark DeBettignies said it was nice to hear from everyone because often they only receive negative emails and phone calls.

“It brings me down to the level that maybe we’ve done some of the right things at the right time for all our taxpayers,” DeBettignies said. “It gives us a building block on what we should focus on. ... We can always do better.”

The full report will be on the city’s website soon, Martin said.

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