Visioning Survey Shatters Expectations With 1,794 Responses
The Community Survey which closed this week, generated almost 1,800 responses from all over the Warwick Valley community. When the Survey launched at the end of August, Visioning consultant Gianni Longo was hoping for 1,000 responses. Upon hearing the final tally, Longo said, “That’s really a great number, one of the best I’ve seen. It shows how much people in this community care about what’s happening now and in the future.”
All respondents answered questions about the Town of Warwick as a whole. For those who lived in Florida, Greenwood Lake or the Village of Warwick, there were additional questions that focused on those villages. There were questions about the greatest strengths, challenges, and opportunities. In addition, specific areas such as growth, the local economy, education, taxes, and the environment were raised. Longo added, “When a large number of residents think about what they do and don’t want in the future, when they put forth specific ideas, it provides critical input for local leaders and the community at large to plan the right way.”
Community2gether organizers were especially gratified with the broad diversity represented by the responses. In addition to the three Villages, Pine Island and the other hamlets, surveys came from the Hispanic, African-American and Asian communities, from newcomers and people who’d lived in the community for generations, from high school students and people well into their 80’s, and from farmers, merchants, families, and singles.
Two organizations played key roles
Getting surveys into the hands of key demographic segments of the community was critical to its overall success and two local groups stepped up to the challenge. The Warwick Valley School District took advantage of the back-to-school season to make sure parents knew about the survey and its importance. In addition, the Leadership class in the High School not only took the survey, but they are considering working with Community2gether organizers to lead a modified version of the Visioning in the High School.
The other group to make a huge difference in survey responses was HRH Care, also known as The Alamo, the organization that works closely with farm workers and the local Hispanic population. Kathy Brieger, the HRH Care Executive Director, not only got the survey translated into Spanish, she also encouraged many Alamo community members to take it. Brieger commented poignantly about how meaningful this was for many, “Some of these people have lived here for more than 25 years and were never asked about what they needed!”
Next step: Community Visioning Meetings
The 1,791 responses to the Visioning Survey will lead to the next step in the process: Community Visioning meetings which will be held in each of the three Villages in November and then a Town-wide meeting in early December. At these meetings, community members will gather and, using the Survey data, work together to map out specific ideas, projects and strategies for each area. Specifics of the meetings are:
— Mon Nov 13: Village of Warwick, 7 - 9 PM at the Warwick Middle School Cafeteria
— Tue Nov 14: Village of Greenwood Lake, 7 - 9 PM at the GWL Middle School Cafeteria
— Thu Nov 16: Village of Florida, 7 - 9 PM at the Florida Senior Center
— Mon Dec 11: Town of Warwick, 7 - 9 PM at the Warwick Middle School Cafeteria
This Visioning Process is something that happens roughly once every 25 years. When it was last conducted in 1993, it led to many positive changes including the Farmers Markets, the preserved farmland, and a new Master Plan among many other things. Now in 2017, with Master Plans throughout the Villages and the Town being either redone or updated, the input from community residents is especially important, and that input will come from these Community Voices meetings.
The Town of Warwick and the Villages of Florida, Greenwood Lake, and Warwick, in conjunction with Community 2000, have begun a town-wide survey of its citizens. The survey launched on September 10th and will run through October 16th.