North Richland Hills survey shows “a very happy place”

04/14/2014 4:10 PM

04/14/2014 4:11 PM

About 97 percent of residents called the quality of life in North Richland Hills either excellent or good in a recent survey, but those living in the southern part of the city were more likely to report substandard housing, potholes, and drainage and flooding problems.

They were also less likely to report that they feel “very safe” in their neighborhoods.

“North Richland Hills overall is a very happy place, and there is very little difference between the data in 2013 and the data in 2011,” said Nicole Dash, associate dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of North Texas. “But there are some geographical differences based on district that probably warrant some additional looks.”

North Richland Hills seeks residents’ opinions every two years to determine their satisfaction with city services and help identify areas that need improvements, said Mary Peters, city public information officer. The survey results will be used to help set budget and policy priorities, City Manager Mark Hindman said.

The city paid UNT $21,000 to conduct the survey of 3,500 randomly selected households late last year. Of the 3,500 households, the college received 796 “usable” responses either online, through a phone interview or through the mail, UNT officials reported.

Overall, the responses were positive, with 45.2 percent rating North Richland Hills as having an excellent quality of life and another 51.3 percent rating the city as having a good quality of life. And 98 percent of respondents would recommend North Richland Hills to a relative or friend as a good place to live.

The best reason for living in the city is its central location to area cities, businesses and shopping, according to 38 percent of respondents. That was followed by 10 percent who called the city a safe place to live, and 7 percent who called it a nice, quiet place to live. The Fire Department, city library and recreation facilities in particular received high marks.

But 40 percent of residents in “District 2” — south of Northeast Loop 820 and west of Hurst — reported seeing substandard housing sometimes or frequently. And 41 percent of residents in “District 4” — divided by Harwood Road — reported seeing substandard or deteriorating housing sometimes or frequently. The citywide average was 29 percent.

Residents in “District 1” — south of Loop 820 and east of Haltom City and west of Richland Hills — were the most likely to report sometimes or frequently seeing drainage and flooding problems at 34 percent. They were also more likely to report seeing potholes sometimes or frequently at 78 percent than residents of other parts of the city. The citywide averages were 26 and 63 percent respectively.

About 61 percent of residents in District 2 and 59 percent of residents in District 4 reported feeling very safe in their neighborhoods, the lowest percentages in the city. Overall, 72 percent of North Richland Hills residents reported feeling very safe in their neighborhoods.

Hindman said city officials will use the survey results to help decide where to spend money and resources to tackle such issues as street repairs and code enforcement. He said some of the areas reporting street problems were where repairs had been made, so officials will have to determine why this perception exists. He said he did not have specifics about how North Richland Hills will proceed given the survey.

“It definitely will be used in developing short- and long-term plans for the city,” Hindman said.

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