Rochester survey discovers city's needs - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester survey discovers city's needs


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As Rochester continues to grow, the needs of the city will change.

Tuesday night, findings of a new project called "About YoU" were released at the Rochester Art Center.

About YoU's purpose was to find out what's working in the city, as well as what can be improved.

From November 29, 2011 through March 18, 2012, 2,500 people gave their honest opinions of Rochester through a survey.

One person wrote, "I think historically Rochester has had a stereotype of being stuffy and perhaps not open to change. It appears to be changing."

"It's starting to really dig into those deeper layers so then you can start learning more to be able to make changes to or almost movements that reflect the community," said Rochester Downtown Alliance's Heidi Mestad.

Four themes arose from the study.

1: People are busy with family and work but take time to support activities and causes that enrich the community.

53% of those surveyed attend free events but the younger population feels there is a lack of things to do.

2: People of Rochester enjoy the outdoors, especially the parks and trails.

However, those from different cultures feel there is a lack of indoor spaces to hold community events.

"Wintertime is very cold so [there are] limited places and reduced opportunities," said Isam Elsheikh, with the Sudanese Association of Southeast Minnesota.

3: The city is considered diverse but do people embrace it or simply tolerate it?

"Even though Rochester has been working on being a welcoming and inclusive community, we still kind of exist in silos," said Vangie Castro, with the Diversity Council.

4: Rochester's people have talents to offer, but struggle to feel connected, many times due to a lack of artistic spaces downtown.

This Thursday, an About YoU information booth will be located on Historic 3rd from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. as part of Thursdays on 1st.

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