2016 Community Survey Recap
Christy Garrard, Executive Director, Highlands Council, Dahlia Park Resident
In January Highlands Council offered the community a chance to tell us what you think about the communications and social programming currently provided in Issaquah Highlands. Below is a recap of the feedback from the survey and our response to the most common comments.
Which official community communications option do you value the most?
46% said Connections News. Highlands Council manages the official online presence of the community and we feel a monthly printed publication balances out how we provide information to our stakeholders. Connections News is funded primarily via our advertisers and they pay to ensure you can see their service and product offerings on paper, on a regular basis.
We want Issaquah Highlands to be able to tell our own stories; this is why most of the paper is full of articles written by neighbors for neighbors. We want you to experience community by seeing lots of photos of you and your neighbors, and your pets each month, so we strive to collect lots of photos for everyone to enjoy. We strive to provide educational information that helps you understand how the community is governed, the benefits of living in IH, and how to embrace and enjoy our global cultural diversity. Connections is NOT breaking news, as we are a monthly publication.
We continue to work on upgrading our layout design and readability in each issue. Many local neighborhoods, including Talus and Sammamish, have shared that they wish they had a community paper like Connections News.
Which editorial theme do you value the most?
60% said the Development Update. We hope you enjoyed February’s issue, Still Growing. We will continue to bring you information about future development and encourage YOU to be civically active, regardless of whether you support or oppose a project.
Which Connections Cover in 2015 did you like the best?
The results were fairly evenly split. We were curious if you preferred people over graphically designed covers. Most said they “liked them all.”
Which regular section of Connections News do you always read?
62% said updates from the IHCA. We hear you and will work to expand this section and provide more information about the rules and regulations of community living, how the IHCA is working to protect our property values, and tips to ensure you do your part to maintain your home and outdoor space.
What new information or article type would you like to see added into Connections News in the future?
Suggestions for a “police blotter,” and “classified ads,” do not fit well into a monthly publication; by the time we publish you will have sold that item or the crime story will be old news. Ideas we CAN work on included more information on our local businesses and restaurants, development updates including transportation improvements, gardening, finance management, and more for empty-nesters, seniors and those with disabilities. We are always looking for contributing writers. If you are interested let me know!
When looking for a service provider or vendor, do you refer to the advertisements in Connections News?
53% said sometimes. Real Estate ads, restaurant ads and coupons, and service providers like back flow testers and dentists were popular with the poll takers.
Do you use IssaquahHighlands.com as a resource for community living?
Almost a 50-50% split on this question. The community website is built to be a resource for quick reference regarding staff contacts, community events, resources such as trail maps, web cams, and business directory as well as an archive for governing documents, meeting minutes and community history. You can also find inquiry forms regarding volunteerism and leasing a P-patch in our community garden. We update the website regularly to improve its value as a resource for you. We will consider incorporating your ideas in the future such as classified and job opportunities; however social media is probably a more efficient media for these. We no longer keep a babysitter list for safety and liability reasons.
Do you find the e-letter a helpful weekly resource?
75% said yes. And we hear you; keep it short and sweet. And that you like the event reminders, traffic updates, and tips for homeowners. Sign up at http://www.issaquahhighlands.com/connect/
Do you or your family participate in the clubs and groups that meet at Blakely Hall?
Of the 130 people that answered the question, 75% said no. However, we know that Blakely Hall’s programming is incredibly successful by the amount of people using the space for various clubs and groups seven days a week. Those who commented with “no” explained it was mostly due to an already busy schedule or that “they hope to find time to get involved this year.”
What type of programming interests you most or would you like to see offered at Blakely Hall in the future?
51% said more for adults only. And “Ted-Talk-type seminars” was a new idea offered. The request for more concerts, art programming and gardening seminars are already on the calendar! Check out What’s Happening on page 16 of March Connections and the community calendar on IssaquahHighlands.com.
Have you attended a Resident Orientation since you have lived here?
63% said no. Join us on March 10th if you have never attended before or if you have questions you would like to ask about IH living. See page 23 of March Connections for details.
What information would you find helpful to better prepare yourself, family and home in the event of a disaster?
You appreciated last October’s Emergency Preparedness Connections issue. We will revisit the topic this fall. We have added a monthly Emergency Preparedness article to our regular lineup in Connections and will work to address your suggestions for more education and information; this month see page 18 for March Connections. Last month we hosted Map Your Neighborhood seminars, teaching residents how to work as a team to secure their street or block after a disaster.
What Highlands Day Festival themes should be considered for the future?
You told us you like the late August timeframe for the festival and you LOVED the food trucks we brought in last year. Your theme ideas were creative and included music, sports, space, cultural diversity, the outdoors, sustainability, pirates, and an actual “Highlands-Scottish games” theme. All were great and we will announce this year’s date and theme in the April issue of Connections!
Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey. I am always available for your feedback and easy to reach at Christy.G@IHCouncil.org or 425-507-1110. See you around the neighborhood!