If a stellar report card is worthy of a reward, the city of Littleton deserves an ice cream cone.
The citizen survey distributed early this year shows that Littleton residents enjoy their environs and feel safe where they live.
Regarding quality of life, 93 percent of the residents who responded rated it excellent or good, numbers that were much higher than in other Front Range cities. More than 90 percent also rated Littleton excellent or good in safety and as a place to raise children.
“The quality of life — it wasn’t really a surprise. But to see the number as strong as it was, that felt great,” said city spokeswoman Kelli Narde.
The survey found that residents’ biggest worry was future economic growth. Job growth, business retention and attraction of new businesses all rated high among major concerns.
Littleton also scored very high on its city government. Respondents rated city services and the direction officials are taking above the norm for Front Range municipalities.
In regard to open spaces, trails and parks, 85 percent of respondents rated the amenities as excellent or good.
Narde said she was impressed with residents’ knowledge of economic issues, which is in step with the City Council’s goals.
“Economic development is (the council’s) primary focus right now — whatever they can do to make sure the business community knows that Littleton is open for business,” Narde said. “Job creation is our primary focus.”
The survey found that redevelopment of old shopping centers and neighborhoods are the two top priorities for residents, two issues that Narde said the City Council will be tackling next year.
The council has already met with the developers of Belmar in Lakewood and Infinity Park in Glendale to discuss best ways to redevelop areas that are languishing.
Residents’ biggest complaints
Parking availability and snow removal led the list of complaints by city residents.
Just 37 percent of respondents rated the parking situation as excellent or good, way below average for Front Range cities.
Yet Narde said studies of the parking situation in town have shown that additional parking is not needed.
“The perception is there that there’s a parking problem,” she said. “The studies have indicated there’s not a parking problem in downtown Littleton.”
Narde believes part of the challenge is defining “problem,” meaning some people might consider walking several blocks from a parking spot to a restaurant or store inconvenient, while others might not.
“How do you define a parking problem?” Narde said. “That’s something they’re going to be talking about next year.”
Narde believes the low scores for snow removal are also a result of perceptions.
“Snow removal — that was a big surprise to me, especially in light of the fact that we had a mild winter last year,” Narde said. “We have a great crew that does the snow removal in Littleton.”
Narde said snowplows service only major routes and secondary roads with schools on them, except in the event of a major storm. She said residents might sometimes see a secondary road leading to a school being plowed and wonder why their streets aren’t getting the same treatment.
Even before the city received the survey results, Narde said, it had hired a company to review snow-removal routes, and a new system will be in place this winter if snow ever arrives.
Overall, Narde said, the city is happy with the results and the high rate of participation — 32 percent of the 3,000 surveys sent out were returned, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
“We were just really pleased with the response. Thirty-two percent is very strong,” Narde said. “For everybody who completed it, we very much appreciate it.”
Contact Ramsey Scott at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.