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7:39 AM Sat, Oct. 20th

Prescott residents have mixed feelings about growth

PRESCOTT ­ The findings of a survey focusing on growth-related issues reveals people have mixed feelings on the topic but are otherwise content living here.

Central Arizona Partnership Advocating Responsible Growth shared the results at the Central Arizona Economic Outlook Forum in late March.

Conducted between June 7 -14, 2006, the telephone survey of 706 registered voters

features insight into their concerns.

CAP board member Al Bradshaw, said

the purpose of the survey was to gauge the public's views.

"We started with the idea that we wanted to do a survey to get our arms around where the communities are coming from on major issues," he said. "That would give us information to move ahead on our mission to advocate for responsible growth throughout the region."

Bradshaw said survey questions touched on a wide variety of issues.

"Well we tried to cover the waterfront and not really leave anything out," he said. "We wanted to know as much about mass transit as we did about water."

And Bradshaw said the survey shows that people don't oppose responsible growth.

"Despite all of the commentary that we hear about growth and no growth and so forth, the majority of people like living here and they think it's going to get better," he said.

Mike Fann, president of CAP, echoed Bradshaw's take on the survey.

"People do support growth as long as it's done in a quality fashion," he said.

Jane Bristol, director of economic development for the city, said the questions didn't appear to influence answers on some rather hot-button topics.

"I expected that most Prescottonians are quite happy living here and that they are concerned about water, growth and traffic issues," she said. "I also expected many people not to like growth in general, since change is always difficult."

Bristol said she liked reading that most respondents appreciate the need for municipal water and sewer systems and that mass transit found greater support than public transit.

"I was pleased to see a clear majority of Prescottonians supporting managed growth because that's what Prescott has been doing for many years," she said. "For Prescott, I think the survey validates the direction city leadership has been going for quite some time now."

When asked how local government is managing growth, 52 percent said they are doing an excellent or good job and 44 percent said government leaders are doing a poor or very poor job with it.

Twenty-six percent blame developers and think they allow too much growth.

Another 16 percent believe there is little

or poor planning to manage the growth and

11 percent think the community lacks the water resources to support it.

Despite that, nearly 60 percent of the respondents are happy living here and 52 percent think the community will become a better place to live in the next five or six year.

For more information, on the study's findings, call 310-6450.

Contact the reporter at jsoifer@prescottaz.com