By Don Henninger
Scottsdale residents apparently are a pretty content bunch. That message is delivered loud and clear in a city-wide survey that shows the vast majority like their lives in the city and like where things are headed.
A lot of them apparently are pretty complacent, too. They certainly don’t make their thoughts loud and clear in other ways when it comes to telling city leaders what they think about current affairs.
It’s human nature. Those who are happy aren’t beating a path to City Hall to declare it so. Those who are disgruntled, on the other hand, show up regularly, make themselves heard and attract the most attention in traditional media, amplified tenfold over today’s social media platforms.
So guess whose voices are the loudest? Does that really reflect the mood of the city? Perhaps not, and certainly no if you base your answer on what the survey discovered.
The city regularly checks in with residents for their opinions on a number of things related to what they think about their quality of life. It’s part of a national survey system and roughly 1,700 Scottsdale households received it at the end of 2020. You can see details about it here: https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/performance/community-survey
Among many other things, the survey says:
“Almost all community members gave high marks to the overall quality of life in Scottsdale and Scottsdale as a place to live. … About 9 in 10 residents planned to remain in Scottsdale for the next five years and about two-thirds positively rated the sense of community in the city.
“The economy was also identified as a priority … with scores higher than the national averages for overall economic health, overall quality of business and service establishments and economic development.
“Scottsdale residents are pleased with health and wellness opportunities … Evaluations of recreation and wellness in Scottsdale were very strong. Assessments of availability of preventive health services, recreational opportunities and fitness opportunities were higher than the national benchmarks.”
We like it here!
How do we stay that way? Being like an ostrich is not the answer. Residents don’t need to beat a path to City Hall but they do need to pay a little attention to the matters of the city and weigh in on those issues they think will affect their future. Here are two to consider:
How do we continue to evolve our downtown and ensure its vitality and success as the economic engine that covers the cost of safe-keeping one-third of the city’s land mass with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, ensuring that we prevent revenue-generating development from ever occurring there? (Hint: this is one big reason our taxes remain low.)
How can we accommodate more attainable housing options for families to live in the city, keep it energized with a youthful spirit and supply our schools with students? (Hint: we’re aging and destined to become like Sun City if we don’t figure it out.)
Those are two big, long-term issues that need to be addressed today. Here’s one more working its way through the city process.
It appears the city will finally adopt an updated General Plan this year, and it’s getting a lot of attention at City Hall. It’s intended to be a visionary document, like a road map for general direction on how the city should progress over the next few decades. But there are those who think it should be more restrictive, almost like a set of specific ordinances, some of which may be applicable today but many, given the rapid changes in society and our city, may prove unworkable and backfire 10 years from now.
You ultimately will get to vote on the plan in November. But you should pay attention to it now.
The city staff has made it easy by breaking down elements of it into digestible pieces and offers you a chance to vote on what you see. It’s all right here at the link:
For the most part, this song fits Scottsdale: “Don’t worry, be happy.” Then again, you might want to be just a little bit worried.
Don Henninger, executive director of SCOTT, can be reached at email@example.com