People in all age groups want improvement in the same areas for the Greater Johnstown region.

They want less crime and blight, more jobs and fewer drugs on their streets, the results of an online survey done Oct. 9-23 by The Tribune-Democrat show.

But some subtle differences emerge when you slip below those top issues and explore areas such as neighborhood improvement and programs for seniors and youth.

In the end, leaders hope to be able to use the feedback to direct priorities for the future.

“This is great information for our community to be talking about, plugging into and maybe even arguing about a little bit,” Mike Kane, executive director of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, said of the survey. “It’s wonderful to be having these conversations about priorities in our area because it can be important on focusing on our goals ... instead of just sitting around as though we’re helpless.”

In all, 1,153 people took the survey.

They were asked whether they believed enough was being done in 17 areas and were asked to rate the importance of those issues from 1 to 5.

“The people who responded to this survey care about this community,” Kane said. “Looking at these results, having people weigh in and getting more involved is a good sign. It’s an example of a healthy community.”

Participants fell into four age categories: 30 and under, 41 to 45, 46 to 60, and 61 and over.

The largest group that responded was the 46- to 60-year-olds (44 percent). The youngest group accounted for 8 percent of surveys. The 31-45 group and 61-and-up group were about the same, 25 and 23 percent, respectively.

The topic of transportation became more important to each older group in succession, climbing from 75 percent of 30 and unders saying enough is being done, to just 52 percent agreeing in the over-60s.

The survey results showed:

General

All four groups had the topics of crime/drugs and blight/property redevelopment in their top two for “not enough is being done.”

All four groups also said enough was being done in the area of arts, heritage and cultural tourism.

And all but the oldest group said enough was also being done concerning the availability of middle-income housing. The oldest group was split evenly.

Each group, including the oldest participants, said “enough is being done” to provide programs for seniors – although the 62-plus group voting was closest (54 percent to 46 percent).

Ages 30 and under

The group was evenly split on whether enough was being done in the areas of municipal or school consolidations, although the other three groups all said that topic needed more attention.

The youngest participants were also split evenly on learning/workforce training and public service programs.

In the 30 and under group, 75 percent said not enough was being done in the area of youth-focused initiatives.

This group felt most strongly (67 percent) that more attention should be paid to recreation and outdoor tourism as an economic driver.

Ages 31 to 45

This group slightly favored (52 percent) a greater emphasis on Marcellus Shale-related business efforts.

Both older groups saw it as more of a need area.

In this group, 64 percent said enough is being done on programs for seniors.

Only the 30-and-unders felt more strongly (71 percent).

Ages 46 to 60

This group gave the highest score (93 percent) for “not enough is being done” to provide jobs and employment opportunities.

Participants in the 46-60 group felt most strongly that not enough is being done to promote business and entrepreneurial activity.

This group felt most strongly (59 percent) that not enough is being done to push Marcellus Shale opportunities.

Ages 61 and over

This group felt most strongly that there is a need for dialogue on the topic of municipal or school consolidations, with 78 percent saying “not enough is being done” in that area.

Participants over 60 also were the most likely to say more needs to be done in the area of neighborhood improvement (87 percent).

This group was the only one that did not say “enough is being done” in the area of middle-income housing. This group was split evenly on that topic.

What matters most?

An online survey conducted Oct. 9-23 by The Tribune-Democrat asked participants to: “Please rate reach of the following in terms of importance to the region, with 5 reflecting very high importance and 1 reflecting very low importance.” This chart shows the average score by topic.

Crime/Drugs: 4.61

Jobs/Employment  Opportunities: 4.58

Blight/Property Redevelopment: 4.35

Business/Entrepreneurial Activity: 4.25

Neighborhood Improvement: 4.01

Downtown Revitalization: 3.91

Learning/Workforce Training: 3.89

Youth-Focused Initiatives: 3.83

Arts, Heritage & Cultural Tourism: 3.75

Municipal or School Consolidations: 3.63

Recreation & Outdoor Tourism as Economic Development: 3.61

Transportation: 3.42

Political/Civic Leadership Development: 3.41

Programs For Seniors: 3.36

Public Service Programs: 3.31

Marcellus-Related Business Opportunities: 3.27

Availability Of Middle-Income Housing: 3.20

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