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Residents give Provo high marks in survey

PROVO — A new survey of Provo residents reinforces the city's position as the county seat of Happy Valley.

The survey, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, indicates that 94 percent of city residents think Provo is safe; 81 percent are happy with the way they've been treated by city officials; and 72 percent believe the city listens to their opinions.

It also shows that 75 percent would like the city to build a new recreation center.

The survey of 415 Provo residents has a 5 percent margin of error and did not include BYU students.

Provo Mayor John Curtis said he believes the survey provides an accurate picture of how Provo residents view their community.

"I feel very comfortable that we went to the right kind of firm with the right kind of experience to get the information we wanted," he told the Provo City Council during a work session Tuesday.

Results of the survey have been posted online at www.provo.org, along with questions and responses.

"Every question that was asked is recorded there," Curtis said. "It validates a lot of things we are doing, but we were prepared to put it up there even if it wasn't."

The Web site displays a graphical "dashboard" summarizing the results of the four main areas of the 52-question survey ?— performance of city employees, community safety, complaint-resolution satisfaction and support for a new city recreation center.

The high numbers regarding safety were well-received.

"(Ninety-four percent) is a huge number," said Councilman Steve Turley.

Curtis said the number is significant because 65 percent of those surveyed said they think Provo has a gang problem.

The survey shows a split in community opinion over zoning laws, with 47 percent of respondents saying they think existing laws are too strict and 40 percent saying they're too lax.

The strong support for a new recreation center could translate into an election to bond for a new facility proposed by a city-funded study released in December. The study suggests replacing the existing center at Provo High School, the Eldred Senior Center and a youth facility called The Center with a single facility in Provo's North Park, 500 N. Freedom Blvd.

The survey shows that 79 percent of those who want the new recreation center are in favor of extending a bond currently paying for the Provo Library at Academy Square to fund the new facility, but most oppose raising taxes to fund the new center.

The survey cost $9,500.

e-mail: mhaddock@desnews.com