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Citizens’ voices valued

One of the top priorities of the City Council, city staff and I is to hear the voices of our community. We benefit from a myriad of involvement by residents, either through direct contact or our requests for feedback. Making sure we offer residents the ability to share ideas and opinions is critical for ensuring our community is well-run and cohesive.

At the request of the City Council in February 2022, staff placed a survey on our website asking residents how to spend more than $21 million in federal funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act funds. The city requested feedback on social media, our website, BCTV, the city’s utility bill mailer and the Boulder City Review.

The results were better than anticipated. More than 200 residents filled out the survey, including several dozen senior residents, who filled out the paper version of the survey. Residents could also submit emails with their ideas on programs and projects over 15 weeks.

When the city held an open house in May 2022 to discuss the findings to date, nearly 50 people attended to share their opinions. Many of the infrastructure suggestions were related to water conservation and wastewater projects.

Other projects ranged from helping local aid organizations — to providing a grant for the local dog park “See Spot Run” — to adding more pickleball courts. When I presented the recommendations to council in July, I was confident that we had a plan genuinely built by the residents of Boulder City.

As we continued to progress, other matters came up. The city has a great, nonprofit dog park — See Spot Run — but many residents opposed to the leash law cited concerns about the lack of grass at this park. Before passing a new ordinance, City Council members wanted residents to share their thoughts on the issue.

Council asked staff to create a dog park survey for the community to provide valuable feedback. Once again, the survey was promoted through traditional and social media.

The survey was open for five weeks yet saw more than double the responses that the ARPA survey received.

After tabulating 446 surveys, 68 percent said they supported a new dog park, and 60 percent said a good dog park required grass and shade. The results also found that 70 percent favored a proposed location at Veterans’ Memorial Park, meaning no new grass would need to be planted amid the historic drought.

Many respondents also wanted to combine efforts with See Spot Run. Staff met with representatives from See Spot Run in August regarding the possibility of collaborating efforts as the community suggested. See Spot Run was not in favor of grass at their location throughout those discussions, which was a significant factor in the staff recommendation to move forward with a municipal dog park.

Thus, City Council approved $72,000 for the new park’s design, fencing and water fountains (for humans and dogs).

Overall, we heard the concerns and desires of both groups — those who support a grassy park and those who support the mission of See Spot Run. The two parks are located on different sides of Veterans’ Memorial Park and should have little to no impact on each other.

Overall, this process gave a voice to those in our community who didn’t have time to attend meetings or write letters.

As we continue in our quest for feedback, through the end of the month, we’re asking residents to weigh in on the dark skies project (www.bcnv.org/darkskies), and soon, we’ll ask residents about a pet ossuary. (This above-ground memorial houses multiple pets’ remains for visitation by family members.)

Details on that will be on our website www.bcnv.org later this month.

Taylour Tedder is the city manager for Boulder City.

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