City begins listening tour with survey

The city of Grand Junction will kick off the first phase of a listening tour this weekend by having Mesa State College business students ask residents about public safety.

Fifteen to 20 students wearing Mesa State business department T-shirts will stand outside consumer destinations around town Saturday and ask questions about the city’s police station, 911 call center, the downtown fire station and the possibility of adding fire stations around the community.

Tim Hatten, a Mesa State marketing professor organizing the students who will conduct the survey, said the questions are designed to find out what public safety buildings locals know exist, what condition they believe the buildings are in, and what, if any, buildings or amenities they think should be added.

The city’s listening tour will include meetings to gain public input in May and June and a town-hall-meeting-style conference call in June, Mayor Bruce Hill said. Council members, he said, want to learn how people’s feelings about public safety facilities have changed since 2008, when voters rejected a proposed sales tax increase and TABOR override to pay for a public safety complex and four new fire stations, which would have cost $98 million.

Hill said council members want to start from scratch with ideas for a new public safety complex instead of rehashing the old design. There’s no guarantee a new complex will ever be built, but Hill said he’d like the council to list ideas for public safety amenities, prioritize those suggestions and list a few ways the items could receive funding.

“We need to determine what still makes sense,” Hill said.

Council members discussed what they wanted from a listening tour during a Jan. 16 council retreat. Members agreed they wanted to gather opinions from a wide variety of people, not just well-known names in the community, and have survey-takers listen to the suggestions and desires of citizens rather than rattle off a list of ideas and have people pick a favorite.

Council members agreed at the retreat to compile a final report on the findings by the end of June, then discuss the report at a City Council workshop and decide what action, if any, to take based on residents’ wishes.


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