Government

Marion receives high marks from residents in quality of life survey

Survey sees fewer residents voting, lower approval of public library

A horse-drawn carriage gives people rides during Marion’s Christmas in the Park and Peppermint Walk at City Square Park in Marion on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (The Gazette)
A horse-drawn carriage gives people rides during Marion’s Christmas in the Park and Peppermint Walk at City Square Park in Marion on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (The Gazette)
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MARION — Over 1,000 Marion residents ranked their community as an “excellent” or “good” place to live in a survey released this week.

Residents who participated in the survey over the summer have a positive view of Marion, with 93 percent rating it as an excellent or good place to live and 88 percent rating the overall quality of life positively, according to a National Community Survey conducted by the National Research Center.

The survey was mailed to 1,700 Marion residents in July and August, and 509 responses were received. A web-based survey was also available to residents, which was completed by 526 people.

There are about 40,000 residents in Marion.

Residents rated 131 items including their overall feeling of safety, ease of travel, new development, affordable quality housing, education and confidence in city government.

This is the second time the survey was conducted in Marion. The first was in 2017.

While most ratings in Marion remained stable, items with a difference of at least 6 percentage points from 2017 to 2019 were noted:

Travel by bicycle received a higher rating this year, improving from 47 to 53 percent. Travel by public transportation also saw a better ranking, increasing from 29 to 36 percent, although still a low percentage compared with other survey results.

Cultural, arts and music activities jumped from 59 to 71 percent in the past two years, and social events and activities increased from 58 to 66 percent.

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Voting in local elections saw a 10 point decrease from 2017 to 2019, going from 94 to only 84 percent. The library also decreased in ranking from 86 to 79 percent.

Other items with lower rankings were street cleaning, snow removal, business and service, food, power utility, carpooling and reading or watching local news.

Business and services’ ranking dipped six points from 2017 from 65 to 59 percent. Food also ranked lower in 2019, going from 71 to 63 percent.

Mayor Nick AbouAssaly, among four incumbents reelected Tuesday, said the results “reaffirm our status as the best place to raise a family.”

But there still is work to be done, AbouAssaly said in a news release, and the City Council and staff will work on moving the city forward.

City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said the city will use the data from the survey to inform its strategic plan, budget process and department work plans.

To view the full survey results, visit cityofmarion.org.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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