As a part of our partnership and support with the city of Mount Clemens, Advancing Macomb co-hosted a community summit on October 6th, 2018 with Oakland University that included a live survey, discussion groups and a debrief on preliminary results. We then followed up with a digital version of the survey taken at the summit, which was available throughout the month of October to residents in and around Mount Clemens. The results of the summit and the survey were helpful to connect with residents, business owners, and to understand the critical issues that are most important to the people who are impacted the most by projects and activities in the city.
The results were 110 Summit attendees and 264 digital survey takers. Both the summit and the digital survey saw a good balance of residents from neighborhoods across the city that reflected the population of the city. We also saw a solid number of residents from neighboring communities. While 50% of households taking the survey did not have children, responses reflected a desire for a community that was welcoming and supportive of families. Most of the respondents were between the ages of 25 – 54 (67%). Those over 55 made up 31% of the respondents. We did not have a large representation of survey takers under the age of 24.
Approximately 80% of the survey takers did pursue education after high school. In fact, there were a surprising percentage of respondents who had a Master’s degree or higher (31% at the Summit and 29% on the digital survey). For those traveling to work, there was a relatively decent balance of commuters going toward centers of commerce based on the size of those centers.
Advancing Macomb and Oakland University wanted to understand how residents saw the community in which they lived, what was most important to them for their current daily lives, and what they wanted for the future of their community. Survey questions focused on what respondents liked about their community, what specific improvements were most important, the makeup of their everyday life, and how they saw themselves.
Image of Macomb, Image of Mount Clemens
The survey revealed that respondents saw Macomb County and Mount Clemens in a similar light…recognizing both for the quality of their communities and relative affordability. Access to water gets an honorable mention for Macomb County’s attributes (approximately 16% of respondents). Mount Clemens also received some recognition for its access to water, but at half the response rate as the county. Education was identified as Macomb’s top civic challenge, with community engagement and philanthropic support running a close second.
Our survey respondents had relatively high education levels and indicated that they enjoyed a variety of leisure interests with a particular liking for outdoor activities. For Mount Clemens, respondents liked the historic qualities about the city but indicate that they would like to see more shopping and entertainment. Survey numbers note visitor attraction as the biggest quality of life challenge in the city. Mount Clemens and their neighboring residents are very sociable, connected with their fellow denizens, and would like to be even more engaged with residents with whom they are not currently acquainted. Commutes for most of our respondents were less than 30 minutes. Interestingly, commutes for Summit attendees skewed slightly higher.
For the Future
Downtown development, visitor attraction, shopping, more employment opportunities and the business development to attract all of these things rated very highly with all respondents. Summit participants and digital survey takers indicated that downtown development is the preeminent priority for Mount Clemens and support new development for businesses and housing. There was no clear preference for the type of business or employment that would take place – simply that there needed to be more of it in general in order for the city to improve its marketability. The survey indicated a very strong opinion that the role of downtown was to attract visitors and provide a center of commerce.
Park improvements, park development along the riverfront, more community programs, more downtown housing, modernization of existing housing, and a strong general investment in downtown showed that both residents and non-residents see Mount Clemens as an opportunity for a unique downtown developed in concert with its riverfront and stock of quality and sometimes historic housing. Many residents and non-residents are already spending time for work in the city and perhaps additional offerings would increase commercial activity and therefore, tax base. Many of our respondents are active and would like to see more opportunities for active lifestyles in the city.
Survey question highlights
(Question #8) If yes, how have you connected with those with whom you interact? (A follow up to the previous question: Do you interact with other Mount Clemens residents, who do not live in your neighborhood?)
|Through growing up in the city||20.5||19.8||54|
|Through community activities (church, school, organization)||53.8||38.5||116|
|We met at an event in the city||7.7||7.3||20|
|Family / family connections||6.4||14.6||33|
(Question 16) What would you like to see more of in Macomb County?
|Shopping / Ent||15||40.5||120|
|Activities for kids||12||5||25|
(Question 17) What do you see as the biggest civic challenge for Macomb County?
|Not connected to Wayne & Oakland||31.7||10.2||58|
(Question 19) What would you like to see more of in Mount Clemens?
|Shopping & entertainment||12.6||47.5||135|
|Activities for kids||10.7||5.1||24|
|Recreation – parks, trails, support services for recreation||10.7||17.1||55|
(Question 21) Biggest QOL challenge facing Mount Clemens?
|Activities for kids||2.1||1.9||7|
(Question 22) Biggest business challenge facing Mount Clemens?
|Tax rate / cost of doing business||32.7||18.8||81|
|Attracting customers / employees||16.3||19.2||66|
(Question 26) Do you think more development would be helpful to Mount Clemens?
Yes = 343 No = 15 (so…yes)
(Question 30) What type of improved housing options would you like to see?
|Variety in ownership model||19.3||14.8||55|
|Variety in type||13.3||13.6||47|
(Question 33) What are the ways in which the city could attract more visitors?
|Parks & Rec||1.9||3.9||12|
|Activities for kids||1||2.3||7|
|Any of above||72.4||51.2||207|
(Question 35) Where are more parks / improvements needed?
|Connected to river||34.1||34.2||79|
|Near schools / library||1.2||2.7||5|
|Parks that connect neighborhoods||27.1||24.7||59|
(Question 42) What would you like to see for new investment in Mount Clemens – for business?
|Removal of abandoned buildings / homes||23.5||28.6||95|
|Activities for kids||2.9||5.6||17|
(Question 43) What new investments in the community would you like to see for Mount Clemens?
|Parks & Rec||12.4||12.8||46|
|River / water||7.6||23.6||69|
|Activities for kids||4.8||7||23|
The results of the survey and the discussion tables at the Summit indicated that residents are engaged, connected, and want to be a part of building Mount Clemens’ future. Survey results also showed that residents and non-residents alike want to see more investment in downtown and that the river could prove to be a valuable asset in that investment. As a first step, Advancing Macomb will help mobilize volunteers to get involved in downtown activities, rebuilding and clean-up work, recreation programs, and event promotion. This team of volunteers can then attest to the value of philanthropic investments and where those investments can make the biggest impact.