Camden Community Conversation. Vibrancy Survey Results May 21, 2009

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1 Camden Community Conversation Vibrancy Survey Results May 21, 2009 Prepared by Friends of Midcoast Maine For the Citizens of Camden Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 1

2 On Sunday, May 3, 2009, over 50 people assembled in the Camden Public Library Picker Room to discuss community and economic vibrancy in Camden, Maine. The meeting was facilitated by Friends of Midcoast Maine s Executive Director Jane Lafleur, on the request of several community members. As a result of small group discussions and writing all ideas on sticky-notes, several steps toward developing a community vision were made. Three questions were posed to the participants: 1) What do you like about Camden? 2) What should be changed in Camden? 3) What actions should be taken to protect the things you have or create what we want? Participants used the sticky note method to record ALL ideas and multiples of ideas that came up. No idea was changed or lost. Using a graphic was developed capturing the ideas of the group illustratively. Visit to view the graphic of what we like and value about Camden. It is also shown on page 16. Due to time constraints, Friends of Midcoast Maine offered to develop an on-line survey to help prioritize the hundreds of ideas that were offered by the group. Over the weeks from May 8, 2009 to May 20, 2009, the survey was available on line and 121 people began the survey; 97 (80%) completed the survey after starting it. Given the small sample size, these results are not statistically significant and are not conclusive. They are anecdotal and illustrative but the intent is that they will be used to begin to inform the discussions in the community about a future vision for the town and how the town can grow and change without losing the unique quality of this place. The answers to the survey are represented two ways. First is a table showing the answers ranked in order based on each answer s average rating The lower the average rating, the higher (the more important) the ranking. The second graphic is a chart showing how many first place (the most important) votes each answer received. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 2

3 Question #1: In your opinion, what are the top 5 qualities of the "community" of Camden? The results are listed below from highest rated to lowest rated. The lower the rating, the higher it was ranked. Answer Options Rating Average Rank Safety Friendliness Sense of community Scale Intimacy Openness Neighborhoods Easy to get involved Neighbors Tolerance Diversity Connectiveness Spirit Enthusiasm Safety, friendliness and sense of community received the highest rankings. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 3

4 The qualities that were ranked number 1 most often were safety, sense of community, friendliness and scale. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 4

5 Question #2: In your opinion, what are the top 5 qualities of the people of Camden? Answer Options Rating Average Rank Genuine/Authentic Depth of talent Interesting People Friendly Rich backgrounds Neighborly Caring Eco-Conscious Creativity Honest/Integrity Individuality The lower the rating, the higher the rank. Genuine/authentic, depth of talent and interesting people received the overall highest ratings. For the qualities that were ranked # 1 most often, interesting people, depth of talent and friendly topped the list. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 5

6 Question #3: What are the top five qualities of Camden s downtown that are most important? Answer Options Rating Average Ranking Family owned businesses and local shop owners Small businesses, not chains Pedestrian friendly Friendly atmosphere Mix of existing businesses Uniqueness of locally owned businesses Not crowded or rushed Architecture (tie) Historic (tie) Small Safe Trees The lower the rating, the higher the ranking so the top five qualities are family owned businesses, and local shop owners, small businesses, not chains, pedestrian friendly, and mix of existing businesses. The qualities that were chosen most often in the # 1 spot, are family owned businesses and local shops, small businesses, not chains, friendly atmosphere and pedestrian friendly. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 6

7 Question #4: What are the top ten attractions of Camden that are most important? Answer Options Rating Average Ranking The harbor Harbor Park/Amphitheater Library Windjammers Opera House Schools Post Office in the village Snowbowl Music programs Historic districts Pop-tech, Camden Conference and Events Traditional architecture Maritime history Public gardens Farmers' Market Village Green The top attractions are the harbor, the Harbor Park and Amphitheater, the Library and the Opera House. The lower the rating, the higher the ranking. Of those who ranked attractions in 1 st place, the top attraction was the harbor, by a large margin. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 7

8 Question #5: What top ten actions are necessary to protect the community we have? The lower the rating, the higher the ranking. The top responses are Adopt a common vision, prohibit chain stores, protect the working waterfront, and pass a restriction against formula restaurants. Answer Options Rating Average Ranking Adopt a common vision Prohibit chain stores Protect the working waterfront Pass a restriction against formula restaurants Bring new retail into the Knox Mill Bring back a local newspaper Lengthen the tourist season Improve dialogue with town leaders Protect scenic views along streets (tie) Preserve historic architecture (tie) Have Community Conversations on a regular basis Keep public schools in downtown area Build more affordable housing Restrict drive through traffic on some streets in summer Protect town meeting form of government Increase number of signs for farmers' market Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 8

9 The most number 1 st votes was received by Adopt a common vision, followed by protect the working waterfront and bring new retail into the Knox Mill. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 9

10 Question #6: Rank the actions that are most important to CREATE the community you want? Rating Average Rank Answer Options Encourage young people to take part in community meetings and decisions Improve sidewalks, paths, trails and bikeways Increase emphasis on outdoor recreational activities Create affordable shopping by encouraging greater retail competition Add public transportation Create a community investment bank for loans to encourage entrepreneurship Promote green living Improve visibility and effectiveness of the Chamber of Commerce Build a foot bridge connecting the public landing to library park Get more news to summer people The top response was to encourage young people to take part in community meetings and decisions, followed by improve sidewalks, paths, trails and bikeways and increase emphasis on outdoor recreational activities and create affordable shopping by encouraging greater retail competition. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 10

11 Of the number first choice rankings, create more affordable shopping was followed closely followed by create a community investment bank and add public transportation. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 11

12 Question #7: In your opinion, what should be added to downtown Camden? Answer Options Rating Average Ranking a movie theater year round jobs downtown a multi-arts college a small college an outdoor cafe green industry a grocery store co-op a seafood market artists' studios a flower store a green store a tea shop more public concerts a nautical museum a kitchen store shoe repair The number one choice to be added to downtown Camden was a movie theater, followed by year round jobs downtown, and a multi-arts college. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 12

13 Of the choices selected in first place, year round jobs in downtown was most often chosen first, followed by a movie theater, far exceeding all other choices. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 13

14 Question #8: Rank the following items that need to be changed or improved in Camden. Answer Options Rating Average Rank Affordable commercial rentals Fewer tee shirt stores Greater mix of businesses downtown Friendlier shop keepers Places for older teens to hang out More sidewalk life downtown Stores open later at night Affordable residential rental property Improved visibility for the farmers' market A bigger farmers' market More mutt mitts and disposal places The highest ranking item is affordable commercial rents, followed by fewer tee shirt stores, and a greater mix of businesses downtown. Of the first place rankings, affordable commercial rents, a greater mix of businesses downtown and fewer tee shirt shops received the most top votes. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 14

15 Residency of Respondents: Overwhelmingly, those who answered the question about residency live in Camden. Age of respondents: 42% of the respondents were between 45 and 64 years of age. The next largest age group was 19 years and under with 21% of the respondents in that category. For more information, please contact Friends of Midcoast Maine at (207) or Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 15

16 Wordle of what we like and value in Camden. In a wordle, the larger the word, the more frequently it was noted on a sticky note. Electronic survey and analysis by Jane Lafleur and Deborah Dodge. May 2009 Page 16

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