This town may be small. It isn’t sleepy.
These days, Seltice Way is busy with rush-hour cars and bustling with new businesses. In a little more than 10 years, the population has more than tripled - from 4,500 in 1985 to 14,000 today.
To find out how residents want all this moving and shaking handled, the city and North Idaho College will survey people here by telephone in March. Then, the city will hold a forum at Templin’s Resort on April 17. Residents can voice just what kind of slice they want out of their local life by the year 2020.
“These are dreams. These are wish lists,” said North Idaho College instructor Tony Stewart. “This is never to be used as a hammer over officials’ heads.”
Fourteen students from Stewart’s state and local government class will survey 200 households, which “is a significant number for a town this size,” Stewart said.
Then, students will attend the April forum. Residents who wish to attend should call City Hall in advance. After the study and forum, Stewart will examine the findings and feedback and prepare a written report.
“I know phone surveys can be tedious,” Mayor S.J. “Gus” Johnson said Tuesday. He said he hopes people will respond to the questions once they figure out no one is selling long-distance service.
NIC prepared a similar study for the city back in 1985. “At that time, the city was such a bedroom community,” Stewart said.
That first study concluded that people wanted more stores and restaurants close to home. They wanted more opportunities for recreation. And, they wanted places to work that were nearby.
Since then, that’s exactly what happened, city administrator Jim Hammond said.
The growth of business and job opportunities is obvious just by driving around town. And the parks department offers many more fun things to do.
Stewart said he hopes his students will learn to be activists in their own communities. The results of the new study will be unveiled during the first two weeks of May, Stewart said.