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A community survey taken by more than 800 people has shown high satisfaction with quality of life in Chaffee County, along with apprehension about the future among some residents.

Envision Chaffee County administered the survey to track satisfaction with quality-of-life among residents. “Sense of community” was identified during Envision’s planning phase as one of the most valued aspects of living here. Retaining the friendly, small-town character as the county grows in population became one of the four “visions” of the project, specifically that “Our community remains friendly, engaged and culturally connected.”

Envision launched the Chaffee County Community Checkup (C4) survey in the fall of 2018 to track resident satisfaction by asking questions about participation in the community and the depth of connections among citizens. The C4 survey was offered online for six weeks and was completed by 848 people. 

Key findings were that Chaffee County residents are engaged in their community, connected to their neighbors, and feel recognized as community members. 

The survey found high overall satisfaction with quality of life. More than 70% of respondents said they were either “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their current quality of life and fewer than 7% were either not very satisfied or not at all satisfied.

The survey also identified apprehension about the future among some residents. About a quarter of respondents expressed strong concern about changes they see occurring. The remaining three-quarters were at least “somewhat satisfied” about changes.

“The survey found that opinions about changes depends on people believing they have a voice in what happens in the community,” Envision volunteer and C4 co-leader Irv Broudy said. “Responses show that people feel more satisfied if they believe newcomers add to the richness and vitality of the community and are not trying to change it in ways that will decrease the qualities they cherish.”

Higher satisfaction with changes was expressed by respondents who said they were connected to their neighbors and felt recognized as valued individuals. Overall satisfaction ranked lowest among survey respondents who grew up in Chaffee County.

“Compared to the total group, people who grew up here are about three times more likely to be concerned about changes coming and more than twice as likely to believe that newcomers are trying to change the community,” Broudy said.

Broudy said he hoped the survey results prove informative and that government and organizations would build on the positive sense of community and satisfaction with quality of life.

The Chaffee County Community Foundation has developed a program to connect people, especially newcomers, part-timers and long-time residents, to opportunities to join and volunteer in nonprofits and other organizations that play a role in making the community a great one. The Foundation has adopted C4 and will conduct surveys in future years.

View or download the survey report at centralcoloradoconservancy.org/envision-accomplished.

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