STERLING – City Council members and the public Monday night will learn just how people view the city when the results of a branding survey are presented.
The city received 328 responses to the survey, which was designed to get input from the community about where the city should focus its efforts.
Many said improving the downtown area and creating more job opportunities were the most important, said Hadley Skeffington-Vos, assistant to City Manager Scott Shumard.
What do people really enjoy about Sterling? Responses included the small-town atmosphere and knowing their neighbors, she said.
People living outside of Sterling also were invited to take the survey, and when asked how they would best describe Sterling, the top two responses were negative, Skeffington-Vos said.
“There’s a big perception problem,” she said.
When asked about the challenges Sterling faces, again, the economic climate was a priority.
“The greatest number of people voted for one answer ... that was focused on jobs as a challenge,” she said. “We’ve had several meetings since with community leaders. It brought up some great conversations.”
City leaders have talked with the Greater Sterling Development Corp. about how to promote job opportunities in the city, and the GSDC has met with major employers and manufacturers to assess job availability.
Leaders also looked at the recent success of downtown events in Dixon, including the successful Mumford & Sons concert. They want to focus more on promoting Sterling.
“There are a lot of changes that are being discussed for downtown to make it more attractive,” she said. “As far as having an economic impact – jobs and the riverfront were number one and two. It’s nice to see that people are interested and attracted to riverfront development.”
The results of the survey will be posted on the city’s website, sterling-il.gov, along with a link to the original survey to her Monday presentation, Skeffington-Vos said.
Very few people participated, but only $25 was spent conducting the survey, and “the information is extremely useful,” she said. “It’s really good information we got without spending thousands on a consultant.”
The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex, 20 W. Third St. Go to sterling-il.gov or call 815-632-6621 for an agenda or more information.