Coalville Citizen Survey Looks At Growth in the Community
Utah is the fastest growing state in the nation, according to the most recent census results. That growth has extended to most corners of the state. One Summit County community took feedback on what residents are hoping the future of their city looks like.
Coalville residents envision a future that’s small, rural and unified. That’s according to a survey done by the citizen run organization “I Love Coalville.”
Around 1,000 people living in and around the city received the survey back in March, and just over 100 residents sent in responses. Lynn Wood with the “I Love Coalville” group said the survey likely has a larger pull than public input during a city council meeting.
"Especially since this survey was anonymous, they didn't have to give us any identifying information," Wood said. "They could really just put it out there what they're thinking, without worrying about repercussions of what they said."
She said most people aren’t opposed to growth in Coalville, but are worried about the city losing its one-of-a-kind charm.
"But that's a tough order to feel that as we grow, how do we keep that small town vibe? I think that's what we're exactly trying to figure out," she said. "And it's going to take a lot of input from people in the community to figure that out. But I think one thing that we learned from this is that we want to be unique."
While the city wants to remain small, 63% of respondents said they would like to see more development specifically in agriculture. And over 55% want to see more single family homes on larger lots. The vast majority don’t want to see growth in recreation or resort developments.
Looking at growth on Main Street, respondents want to keep things locally owned. Most of them were against a dollar store in the downtown area. Wood said that was a surprise. But admin of the “I Love Coalville” group Louise Willoughby said it fits in with other themes they saw in the survey.
"And that kind of goes along with that sense of community," Willoughby said. "They really want to be part of a community when they come to Coalville."
The majority of people surveyed don’t think their opinion matters. More than 63% of respondents said they only have a little or no influence on the direction and pace of growth.
One anonymous response said:
“Community expressed opinions and ideas are completely ignored by city leaders, they follow [their] own agendas and completely leave out what the [public] majority would like to see for the town.”
Willoughby said many community members feel the same way, which affects public input during city council meetings.
"Many have said that they've given up expressing it at public meetings, because they felt their efforts were wasted because the overwhelming majority felt like they weren't listened to," she said. "We've done other surveys in the past, and we've actually held meetings for the public. But as a group, we decided it was time to get public input again, because opportunities for new leadership were coming up."
Coalville has two city council seats and the mayoral seat opening up for the next election. Willoughby said the survey could be used as a starting base for candidates to use community input for their platforms.