Survey shows residents want library, senior center

by Dennis Dalman

If wishes become realities, then a senior center and a library will be part of a Sartell community center, when and if one is built.

A recently released survey indicates residents definitely want a library and senior center as amenities within a center. Among other items on people’s wish lists, according to the survey, are a swimming pool, a dog park, a downtown area and development of property along the Sauk River near Whitney Park for a regional scenic park with trails and river access.

The survey was placed on the city’s website several months ago. It also contained questions about Sartell residents’ levels of satisfaction of city services. Eighty-seven percent of respondents rated those services “good” or “excellent.” Eight percent rated them as “Fair,” “Poor” or “Don’t Know.”

The survey was designed to give city officials a good idea of what residents want so staff, planners and the Sartell City Council will have direct guidance from the public. A community-center task force, formed late last year, will also be better able to come up with community-center recommendations now that they have a better idea of what residents want.

The center itself is almost certain to become a reality by 2014 because $1.6-million in half-cent sales-tax funding has already been tagged for construction of a center. In the last half of 2012, the Sartell City Council emphasized more than a few times that a center should be one of the city’s highest priorities because residents have wanted one for more than 10 years. In fact, a community center is one major reason residents voted for Sartell to become part of the regional half-cent sales-tax legislation.

In previous surveys in past years, residents have also listed as amenities to be included in the center the following: an area for historical artifacts of the Sartell Historical Society, community meeting rooms, youth recreation, on-site cooking facilities for events.

A survey question about safety received mostly favorable responses, with 79 percent saying they feel “Very Safe” and 21 percent saying “Somewhat Unsafe.”

There were some complaints about snowplowing, and some asked why it takes so long to get their streets plowed.

A fire-protection question had respondents rating level of satisfaction at 73 percent rating it “Excellent” or “Good” and only 3 percent rating it “Poor.”

On the city-satisfaction portion of the survey, some of the positive comments were these:

“Sartell is the best city in the area.”

“An incredible place to live.”

“What’s not to like? It’s Sartell.”

The negative comments included the following:

“The cost to build a house is high. The fees are a hindrance and may send business elsewhere.”

“Some of the (city’s) fees seem to be excessive.”

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman
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