New survey puts a spotlight on what people like and don't like about South Bend

WSBT 22 photo

In all, 58 percent of people in South Bend say the city offers thriving public spaces and culture. But only 30 percent believe the city has welcoming neighborhoods.

Over 700 South Bend residents participated in this survey.

It's a 7-page survey that asked people the strengths and weaknesses about the city.

11 main areas were considered to be the priorities to improve over the next two years.

Smart Streets has been a major change for downtown South Bend. But according to a recent survey, residents say overall maintenance of streets, sidewalks and infrastructure should be the top priority.

A priority the Common Council president says has seen updates already.

“If you look at light up South Bend, when we started we put up over 700 new streets lights in neighborhoods where it is crucial to look at your main corridors,” said Tim Scott. “But what we found was there weren’t lights in the neighborhoods like the Keller Park, Lasalle Park area.”

The survey was commissioned by the mayor's office.

721 residents answered the survey.

Scott says he knows of several projects that need to be fixed.

“Bendix Drive is one that we need to take care of right away. I’m getting calls about that all of the time. We have sewer issues where combined sewer overflow really hasn’t been pushed into some of the neighborhoods and we’re still having concerns and issues with those.”

The second priority -- overall quality of local police protection.

A spokesperson with the South Bend Police Department says they're working on connecting with those they serve.

“We do walking patrols,” said Ken Garcia. “Last year we did more than 7,000 walking patrols. This year we are on pace to get close to 10,000 walking patrols.”

Garcia says with new technology, officers now have the opportunity to connect face-to-face.

“Officers became stuck to their cars because that’s where the computer is to run backgrounds, to run information. So now we are trying to get them out of the cars. We want them to go door-to-door. Knock on those doors. Talk to people – Hey, what’s going on?”

Scott says the survey is a positive way to hear from the community.

“You need to know where your benchmark is so you know where you can improve. But you can look at it and see definitely people are encouraged that the city is moving in the right direction.”

Other priorities are enforcing local codes and ordinances and how well the city is planning growth.

This survey was taken this summer. The plans are to continue the survey to make sure departments and the city know what to work on.

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