Results of the early stages of Genesee 2050 survey indicates that a majority of Genesee County residents purchase local farm products, are satisfied with many aspects of public parks, and have not experienced serious health issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari forwarded preliminary findings of the survey -- which can be found at www.genesee2050.com – to The Batavian earlier this week, emphasizing, however, that his department continues to seek the input of citizens to help determine the best course of action going forward.
The survey, thus far, showed that 134 people responded – about half from the City and Town of Batavia, 13 from the Town of Pembroke and the rest from the county’s other towns and villages, except the Village of Alexander. Five respondents said they do not live in Genesee County.
“This exercise has really just started,” Oltramari said. “We are hoping for a significant number of responses and, as such, will be making this available for some time.”
The survey touches upon a number of topics, including respondents’ views on public safety, housing, schools, transportation and government; parks, trails and recreation areas; the pandemic’s effects on their well-being; renewable energy; and agriculture and food production.
On the latter, 85 percent of those who responded signaled that they purchase local farm products at a farmers market, while 71 percent said they buy local farm products at stores and shops other than the supermarket, and 51 percent said they buy local farm products in the supermarket.
All told, the survey indicates that local farm food production is extremely important.
Concerning the pandemic, a “mini-survey” revealed so far that 57 percent reported that their families have not experienced negative health or health care impacts due to COVID-19, while between 15 and 20 percent stated that surgery or treatment was postponed because of the pandemic.
Furthermore, of the 18 respondents who had to close a family business or a business they own, four are open again, six have not or will not reopen, and eight are still unsure. Of the 56 who answered the question about seeking assistance from the county, 48 did not seek assistance, four were able and four were unable to access assistance.
County planners are very interested in public opinion regarding recreation, especially parks and trails now that Ellicott Trail is complete.
To the question, How often have you or members of your household visited any park or trail in Genesee County in the past year?, 42 percent indicated less than once a month but at least a couple times a year; 29 percent said less than once a week but a couple times a month, and 21 percent stated at least once a week.
More than 90 percent of respondents regard the following characteristics as very/somewhat important -- support facilities such as washrooms, drinking fountains; trails and greenway connectivity, and year-round use.
Other aspects deemed very/somewhat important were landscaping and appearance, park and playground safety, and water accessibility.
On a question concerning level of satisfaction with recreation facilities, the top very satisfied/satisfied amenities were natural areas; nature interpretive areas, and nature trails, snowmobiling trails and walking/hiking trails. A higher level of dissatisfaction was revealed for swimming pools, beaches and off-leash areas.
Other survey questions and responses are as follows:
- Why do you choose to live in your Genesee County community?
The top answers here were to be close to family/friends, nearly 60 percent; always lived here, 43 percent; close to school/work, 42 percent, and feel safe, quality of life, rural character, all at over 30 percent. Interestingly, only 20 percent checked “quality of schools.”
- Please indicate how important each of the following is to you.
Four categories drew 90 percent of the respondents -- taxes, government efficiency, public safety and fire protection, and availability of jobs. On the other end, only 45 percent indicated that transportation choices were very/somewhat important.
- Please indicate your level of satisfaction with each of the following.
Public safety and fire protection led the way at 77 percent who are very/somewhat satisfied, following by parks and trails, 60 percent. Taxes was the number one choice for somewhat/very dissatisfied at 45 percent.
- Who should be responsible for issuing guidelines or standards in siting these projects and/or mitigating their impacts?
Forty-two percent indicated that local municipalities should be responsible, and only 9 percent felt that New York State should have oversight, interesting in light of the fact that more and more large-scale solar projects are being pushed by the state.