The hard data shows that Eagle residents really love their quality of life.
But it also shows town residents aren’t satisfied that things are as good as they can get.
“You have a tough audience there in Eagle,” said Linda Venturoni of Venturoni Surveys & Research Inc. the firm that conducted Eagle’s 2013 community survey.
The 134-question survey was launched this summer and generated 621 responses. A total of 256 surveys were sent to business owners with a return rate of 86 (34 percent). A total of 2,097 surveys were sent to homeowners and 535 were returned (25.8 percent). The math involved in that sample means the survey has a 95 percent confidence level and it is a broader return than the last community survey, conducted in 2007, which generated 503 total responses.
Just as it did in 2007 and 2004, the survey showed people highly value Eagle’s sense of community and quality of life. Venturoni noted that Eagle’s scores in those to areas are among the highest she has ever seen.
“One of the main things from this survey is if you get a sense of community rating that high, people are really happy living there,” she said “To get a score in the 70s is really unusual.”
On the flip side, Eagle residents also clearly communicated what they are most concerned about.
“The main message from this survey is people are concerned about the local economy. Traffic concerns was the No. 1 issue in the last survey,” said Venturoni.
Gauging community demographics is a key element of a survey and Venturoni noted that the numbers in 2013 have evolved since 2007. At that time, the data showed that the average Eagle resident had lived in the community less than five years. The 2013 survey shows Eagle’s residential base has more longevity with the largest group reporting residence in the community between six and 10 years.
That’s still remarkable, Venturoni noted. In looking at U.S. Census figures, Eagle’s population was 3,032 in 2000. By 2010 it had grown to 6,488 — a whopping 114 percent increase. By comparison, Colorado’s overall population growth during that period was just under 17 percent.
“Eagle’s growth was enormous, any way you look at it,” she said.
Additionally, the demographics show that Eagle is a community, not a resort. There is a 10 percent home vacancy rate in Eagle, compared to a 40 percent rate in Eagle County. “That shows the number of second homeowners. Eagle is closer to normal, more like the state as a whole,” said Venturoni. “You are really a community of residents, rather than second homeowners.”
With that established, what do Eagle’s residents think about their town?
Eagle-ites like a lot of things about their community. The two main reasons they live here are “quality of life” and “family oriented community.” Recreational amenities, climate and relative affordability also ranked high. Drilling down, Venturoni asked survey respondents to define what “quality of life” meant. They cited access to parks and open space, a recreation-oriented lifestyle and a family oriented community as their top defining elements.
Interestingly, while Eagle residents cited hiking/walking/jogging as their top recreation activity, they did not overwhelmingly support additional trails. Back in 2007, 64 percent of the respondents wanted to see more unpaved trails in town. In the 2013 survey, only 51 percent wanted more unpaved trails.
“That may be showing a satisfaction level with what the community has done,” said Venturoni.
According to the survey, Eagle has a 96 percent capture rate for grocery shopping. Additionally, community members are very likely (81.6 percent) to spend their restaurant and entertainment dollars in town. Medical services in town also capture a sizeable portion of locals’ dollars.
However, the numbers plummet when it comes to purchasing clothing (16 percent) and home improvement supplies(10 percent).
Venturoni noted along with those shopping leakage figures, survey respondents said the town should do more to attract new businesses to the community. In a question that asked respondents to allocate $100 to various municipal services or projects, that was the top priority for both residents and business owners.
The survey also showed that Eagle residents think that various arms of town government are doing a good job. Respondents gave high ratings to municipal services, including law enforcement, parks and open space and snow removal. The approval rating for the Eagle Town Board was 29 percent, down a bit from 33 percent in 2007.
“Nothing came up as a major problem,” said Venturoni. However, she noted that the top municipal concerns share a common theme with residents expressing dissatisfaction with how the town handles complaints, communicates with citizens and works with other groups.
In looking at the overall results, Venturoni said the results from 2013 line up with the results from previous surveys.
“The consistent values over time is important,” she said. “It shows that things are not a passing fancy. It shows that people want to live in this community because of these values.”
The complete 2013 Eagle Community Survey report can be found at http://www.townofeagle.org.