Sunday, October 12, 2014

Town of Windham asks for citizen input - By Michelle Libby

The last Town of Windham Comprehensive Plan was in 2003. The town planning office will be sending out a survey as part of “the overall effort to update the 2003 approved plan,” according to Director of Planning Ben Smith. The survey will be sent to every home and business in Windham starting next week. The correspondence will be a one page letter with instructions to call a specific number to give your responses and it will also have a website address where the survey can be taken online. 

For months the town has had boards up in municipal buildings asking where the good things are in Windham. People have been adding tacks and notes to the boards. There will be questions on the survey asking just that, what are the good things in this community? What are the threats to Windham?  Each section gives a statement and then asks the participant to fill in “agree, disagree, strongly agree or I don’t know.” It also has a section that asks residents and business owners to label their top three choices from a list, or rate services and locations in town. There is a box for comments as well. 

People who take the survey will be entered into a drawing for a prize. 

“It’s a wide-ranging survey,” said Smith. “It’s an important part of the process.” The committee would like to hear from as many people as possible, unlike at a town meeting, residents don’t have to be on someone else’s schedule. The survey can be taken in 12 to 15 minutes any time of the day or night.
“This is the broadest level of unbiased input. We really will have a clear idea on a sewer system or a community center project or any number of things we can do,” said Smith. 

The survey will be run by Critical Insights out of Portland. “It’s not a survey from the town office or the comprehensive planning office,” Smith clarified. “There’s a confidence level that there’s not an angle here.” Critical Insights will manage the data and responses.   

The town is looking for a large sample size of the population to take the survey.

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