POLCO Data Gives Residents a Voice

July 26, 2019 07:11 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- In March the City of Rochester launched its POLCO survey site with the goal to hear from residents about projects and city decisions.

“It’s been really insightful so far,” said Jenna Bowman, Communications and Engagement Manager for the City of Rochester.


In the past four months, the city’s gotten nearly 7,000 responses to questions posted on the website.

“I mean, some questions we’ve gotten response rates in the mid-hundreds, other ones close to 400,” Bowman said.

More than half of the questions have asked for feedback on current city projects, including changes to Silver Lake, the Chateau Theatre and the City Loop bike lanes planned for Center Street and Third and Fourth Avenues.

“I think one of the things we’re always looking for are better ways to hear from our community, our citizens, so that we make informed and hopefully the better decisions,” said City Council President Randy Staver.

“This is another tool to help us build up a broader way of communicating, engaging with the community,” Bowman said.

Data has shown what residents think the city’s doing well, like 99 percent rating the fire department’s work as excellent or good, and 81 percent who think the community is an excellent or good place to raise kids.

“Maybe someone’s not yet comfortable of showing up to the public hearing, but they’re willing to go online or use their phone,” Bowman said.

There is room for improvement; 39 percent say they’re satisfied or very satisfied with the city’s government, with concerns about focus on Destination Medical Center and Mayo Clinic, taxes, and where money’s being invested.

“Are we really going down the right path, what does the community think,” Staver said.

As more data come sin, the city will continue to use it to shape Rochester’s future.

Right now the city has just under 900 subscribers, but they’re hoping to hit 1,500 


Alice Keefe

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