Date of release: October 24, 2017
Pictured: Paducah City Manager Jeff Pederson and Assistant to the City Manager Michelle Smolen
At last night’s Celebration of Service Reception, the National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) presented the City of Paducah the 2017 Voice of the People Award for Transformation in Recreation and Wellness. City Manager Jeff Pederson and Assistant to the City Manager Michelle Smolen attended the conference and accepted Paducah’s award. The reception was part of the 103rd Annual ICMA Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The City of Paducah surveyed residents in 2016 and in 2013 using The National Citizen Survey™. Compared with all of the communities that participated in the 2016 surveys, Paducah residents reported the highest levels of improvement in the category of Recreation and Wellness. According to the NRC, this competitive award is given only to top performing jurisdictions that best listen and act for the benefit their communities.
City Manager Jeff Pederson said, “The City of Paducah is committed to moving this community forward, listening to its residents, and providing exceptional services and programs. Asking our residents how we are doing is the highest form of engagement, and I am thrilled that our citizens have noticed that Paducah has made strides in what we offer.”
NRC President Tom Miller said, “This is a unique opportunity to see evidence of best practices quantified by survey results.” Noting that top jurisdictions can benefit other communities, Miller added, “Others can understand the successes of their colleagues and get to know what’s working best in America.”
In comparing the two survey results, Paducah noticed statistically significant increases in the following community characteristics: paths and walking trails, overall natural environment, and recreational opportunities. Paducah also noticed that the positive ratings for using Paducah recreation centers and visiting a city park increased in the three-year span between surveys.
To further validate the increase in ratings between surveys, Paducah reviewed its rating trend for quality of life. For the 2016 survey, 68 percent of Paducah’s residents gave positive ratings regarding the overall quality of life in Paducah. That number increased from the 63 percent approval rating in 2013. According to the National Research Center, this is an impressive increase since a variety of factors come into play when looking at quality of life.
The Voice of the People Awards stand alone as the only awards given in local government based on community opinion. Survey results determine the nominees for the best in the following categories: Community Engagement, Safety, Mobility, Foundations of Livability, Recreation and Wellness, Education and Enrichment, Natural Environment, Built Environment, and Economy.
The National Research Center’s team of social scientists supports cities, counties, foundations, and nonprofit organizations in using survey research to move their communities forward through public sector research and evaluation.