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Resident participation through online platform informs economic redevelopment plans in Two Rivers

City of Two Rivers

Two Rivers, WI

Two Rivers needed to better understand resident priorities to address widespread concerns of economic decline. Using a polling and survey platform, the city was able to easily engage its citizens and use the polling data’s useful insight to help shape investment decisions.

Topics Covered

Redevelopment & Brownfields
Transparency
Civic Technology
Digital Divide

Cost

Initial: 3 Thousand USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2018

Gov Champion

City Manager

Problem Addressed

Two Rivers needed to identify resident priorities so the city's limited public resources could be allocated to creating more jobs amid economic decline.

In the last five years several businesses had closed, taking with them needed jobs and revenue. Despite these concerns, local officials in Two Rivers were unsure of how to revitalize the community. It had been 21 years since the city had last pursued strategic planning for economic development and officials were unsure whether the community would be receptive to some of the proposed changes. However it was clear that a method to identify resident priorities was needed to allocate the city’s limited public resources in a way that encouraged more private investment, provided more jobs, created a bigger tax base, and enhanced the quality of life in the community.

Solutions Used

The city identified resident priorities via surveys on economic development and used the feedback to retool its redevelopment strategy.

Local government officials in Two Rivers were unsure of how to revitalize the community.

They had several ideas but were uncertain whether the community would be receptive to some of the proposed changes. To better gauge community sentiment, Redevelopment Resources was hired to conduct a marketing plan study and in turn, Polco was brought on as a partner. Redevelopment Resources used Polco’s unique survey platform to send out multiple questions on economic development in a short period of time to understand resident priorities.

With Polco’s software, citizens were able to have a meaningful voice in the community economic redevelopment effort. Polco’s software has a low barrier of entry and is readily available to all citizens of a community, so each citizen has an opportunity to become engaged. Local business leaders were able to voice their opinions anonymously without fear of reprisal from customers that may disagree with their view. Government staff members were able to electronically distribute more than two dozen questions over a period of 6 weeks to understand priorities and preferences on tradeoffs. One advantage of Polco’s survey platform is that it verifies respondents, allowing cities to filter out responses from those who don’t live in the community. After analyzing all responses, using Polco’s real-time data and reports, the city retooled their redevelopment strategy to better align with resident priorities.

Outcomes

1

Verified citizen responses and feedback to economic development ideas

2

Two Rivers now had a quick and easy method to gauge community support for new measures or plans

3

A variety of data breakdowns allowing city officials to see exactly how different economic development ideas are perceived by subgroups within the community

4

Readily interpretable results for easy incorporation into city economic development planning

5

A statistically significant user base of over 250 citizens generated over a 6 week period (and growing) readily available for future city questions

Who Should Consider

Any city that wants to ensure redevelopment decisions are being informed by residents, and wants to be able to determine how development ideas are perceived by different community subgroups.

Last Updated

Mar 25th, 2022

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