Perceptions of Ford City are slowly changing for the better, but there's still a long way to go, according to a survey completed by a community not-for profit.
Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal went door-to-door with a paper survey this summer and asked 103 residents questions about their neighbourhood.
"The scan touches on a variety of things," explained Karlene Nielsen, community coordinator for the organization. "We talk about actions residents are taking, perceptions of crime and concerns people have in terms of neighbourhood amenities, crime and quality of life."
The group completed a similar survey in 2014 and plans to compare some of the information from each report to strategize on community initiatives.
Nielsen said feelings of involvement in Ford City had improved, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they felt they were an active part of the community this year compared to 31 per cent measured three years ago.
"That's something we want to build on of course," she said.
Area's reputation still a concern
But one of the biggest issues for the community is how it is perceived by outsiders. Nielsen said it's important for the group to take actions which help improve the stigma that the area is unsafe.
"If you have a negative perception are you likely to go to that community? Are you going to want to buy real estate there, invest there, these are the things that will improve the neighbourhood so we need to be working harder to address this."
Kayla Lessard, resident engagement coordinator at Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal, said there has been a "positive improvement" in those sentiments. She said 17 per cent of residents surveyed in 2017 said when they talk about Ford City to outsiders, they had a "positive reaction" to the area — compared to 12 per cent in 2014.
"I think that people still agree that the prevailing attitude is that it can be fairly negative when they speak to people outside the neighbourhood," said Nielsen, adding that the organization is constantly pushing to improve this feeling.
For Lessard, another positive trend was the number of newly situated residents in the area, who have moved in the last year or two.
"Now we're having an increase in people who are new to the area," she said. "It shows there is a lot of growth."