Online voting for Washington’s new comprehensive plan goals is now complete. A total of 65 completed the survey online.
“I think overall, for an online survey that’s a respectable number,” said Dan Lang of the Lang Gang, Inc. “It certainly gives us enough material to evaluate.”
The Lang Gang is the consultant hired to develop the city’s new comprehensive plan.
Washington residents were invited to a public voting session in early June. Those who were unable to attend could participate online.
Online voting, which was accessed through the city of Washington, MO Comprehensive Plan Facebook page, was open through June 30.
Like at the public meeting, voters were asked to choose 16 goals they feel are the most important. They also could assign one red dot to the goal they feel is least important and a green dot for the goal they feel is the most important.
The goals were grouped into six focus topics including aesthetics, civic improvement, land use, transportation/infrastructure, parks/recreation and economic development.
A total of 36 voted using one online survey and an additional 29 voted using a more user-friendly version updated later in the voting process.
The goal is to combine the second group with the first group, then compare that data to the group that voted in person. A total of 172 turned in surveys during the in-person informal voting session.
Of the 65 online surveys, the group of 29 has been calculated.
Of those, the most popular goal is in the parks/recreation/open space category to develop the riverfront, including the Downtown area. That goal also is the most supported by the in-person voting session.
In the same group of 29, four goals tied with the highest number of green dots. Those goals are to work toward the enhanced development of the riverfront; improve transportation flow throughout the community; enhance existing and explore the development of new park facilities within the city of Washington; and focus on making Washington a destination location in the St. Louis metropolitan region. Each of those goals received six green stars.
The least supported goal is in the aesthetics category to review the type and appropriate use of building materials and their applicability to different areas within the community. That goal received seven red dots.
Lang pointed out that it is a little premature to say the final outcome of the voting, since the numbers don’t fully represent those who took the online survey.
It is expected that the final results, including the original in-person voting and online voting will be ready for the next steering committee meeting, which will be held Tuesday, July 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Washington City Hall.
Lang said that other communities have tried with varying degrees of success to use similar voting methods.
“This particular exercise with the survey is a little unique to Washington, but that has helped us get a better response rate,” Lang said, adding that it has become a more standard practice.
Many communities, Lang said, use paper surveys and send out information with utility bills.
“Having an additional resource is something many larger communities do, but I wouldn’t say it’s standard practice. I applaud the city for expanding its public participation approach,” he said.