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Woodbury Community Foundation to present community survey Dec. 13

Ever wondered what your fellow residents think about life in Woodbury?

Well, nearly everyone in town loves living here. But nearly half of those same people believe there aren't enough stable jobs available in town.

Those are just a few of the results to come out of a community survey conducted by the Woodbury Community Foundation (WCF) earlier this year. The foundation will hold a presentation of the results of the survey Monday, Dec. 13 at Woodbury Lutheran Church.

The free event, which runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will feature an executive summary of the results of the survey, which was intended to unearth needs in the community in four key initiatives: Youth, Jobs, Housing and Food.

The WCF has spent the last several months organizing committees of citizens, business representatives and community volunteers for each of the initiatives with the goal to help establish a network among organizations in the community to address those needs, said Alisa Rabin Bell, WCF executive director.

"We are really hoping to use the findings from this survey to bring organizations together to address those needs found in the survey," Rabin Bell said. "There are some wonderful organizations that are already doing a good job in these areas and we want to help them address any gaps."

The survey was constructed and administered by the St. Paul-based Wilder Research Foundation, a well-known organization that conducts community surveys and studies for communities and organizations around the Twin Cities.

The survey, was mailed out to 4,000 randomly-selected residences in late 2009. Nearly 1,000 residents responded to the survey, said Nicole Martin Rogers, a Wilder Research staff member who authored the survey.

A variety of questions were included on the survey including topics on city services and amenities, public safety, jobs, and other quality-of-life issues, Martin Rogers said.

"The one thing that we like about the methodology of this type of survey, is that it allows all types of residents to participate," she said. "It includes the voices of people who might not regularly show up to the community meetings and such, and everybody essentially has an equal chance of being selected."

The near 24 percent response rate was fairly high, thanks in part, Rabin Bell, said to community businesses who donated gift cards for those who responded.

As the WCF executive committee analyzed the results of the summary they sought out residents and volunteers from the business and non-profit community to serve on the initiative committees that were developed from the study. Woodbury Mayor-elect Mary Giuliani Stephens is heading up the "Jobs" committee, which she said has been brainstorming ways to find key partners in the community that can develop and coordinate resources for topics such a job loss.

"I think one thing we have found is that it is important to connect resources for job seekers with job creators," Giuliani Stephens said. "There is a lot of work we think we can do in this area."

Other key initiatives, like "Youth," have been working on finding ways to assist community resources that serve youth in Woodbury, Rabin Bell said, and have been brainstorming how to address needs for youth in the community.

"Our goal is to take these results, looks for ways to address the needs we have in the community and just help those vital organizations in our community collaborate and take action," Rabin Bell said. "It's about making a great place to live, work and play, even better."