Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway

City of Eagan Citizen Survey

Conducted by Decision Resources, Ltd.

August 15, 2002

Excerpts and Analysis

Questions on Open Space in Eagan

Summary of Interest in Purchasing Additional Undeveloped Land in Eagan:

Purchasing additional undeveloped land in the community was a key priority for Eagan residents. Eighty-two percent think the purchase of additional undeveloped land in the City of Eagan is "important." In fact, 39% regard it as "very important." Only 14% view it as either "not too important" or "not at all important," while 4% were "unsure." Concern about the amount of publicly-owned land at present, though, proved to be moderate. While 60% are either "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned," 35% report they are "not to concerned" or "not at all concerned."

These results are based upon a random sample of 400 randomly selected adult residents of the City of Eagan interviewed by telephone. The results are projectable to witin +/- 5.0% in 95 out of 100 cases. Preliminary results are presented below.

As you may know, Dakota County has tentatively approved holding an opne space referendum this November. If approved, County funds would be used to acquire and preserve undeveloped natural areas and farmland across the country. If the referendum is successful, the owner of a $150,000 home would see a yearly property tax increase of approximately $15.00 per year, while the owner of a $300,000 home might have a yearly increase of $30 per year.

  1. From what you have heard or seen, do you plan to support or oppose this open space referendum -- strongly support, support, oppose, strongly oppose, or unsure?

            a. strongly support ..... 14%
            b. support ..... 47%
            c. oppose ..... 14%
            d. strongly oppose ..... 4%
            e. unsure ..... 4%
  1. If the Dakota County open space referendum does not include acquiring land in the City of Eagan, would you still support it -- yes, no, unsure?

            a. yes ..... 16%
            b. no ..... 16%
            c. unsure ..... 28%
  1. How important is it to you to purchase additional undeveloped open space areas for preservation in the City of Eagan -- very important, somewhat important, not too important or not at all important?

            a. very important ..... 39%
            b. somewhat important ..... 43%
            c. not too important ..... 10%
            d. not at all important ..... 4%
            e. don't know / refused ..... 4%
  1. How concerned are you about the amount of publicly-owned open space in the City of Eagan -- very concerned, somwhat concerned, not too concerned or not at all concerned?

            a. very concerned ..... 18%
            b. somewhat concerned ..... 42%
            c. not too concerned ..... 27%
            d. not at all concerned ..... 8%
            e. don't know / refused ..... 7%

The City of Eagan, itself, could pursue one of two strategies in acquiring open space for preservation within the community. It could purchase undeveloped land in one area of the city for development as a major greenway for trails and passive recreational amenities OR it could purchase parcels of land scattered throughout the community for natural space or parks.

  1. Which of the two approaches to you most favor -- a major greenway in one area or scattered natural spaces and parks across the city? Do you fell strongly that way?

            a. strongly greenway ..... 6%
            b. greenway ..... 12%
            c. scattered ..... 40%
            d. strongly scattered ..... 21%
            e. indifferent ..... 10%
            d. neither ..... 4%
            e. don't know / refused ..... 8%

Analysis of question 75:
Decision Resources, Ltd. generally has a good reputation for surveys the firm conducts. At times, however, Decision Resources, Ltd. has been known to be significantly "nuanced" by organizations commissioning the survey. That may have been the case with this key question.


    • The question is not worded in an impartial manner;
    • the term "greenway" is never properly defined;
    • the meaning of "greenway" is implied through the use of the single term like "trails" and the ambiguous concept "passive recreational amenities";
    • by contrast, the expresssion "natural space" is used to modify "scattered parks" rather than the greenway, which is contrary to the normal sense of a "green way";
    • the question creates a false dilemma, claiming that we can either choose one approach or the other, but not a solution that combines these approaches;
    • the results from such a question are thus quite predictable;

The question posed above is no less biased than the following question:

Which of the two following approaches would you favor -- a major greenway that hosts a regional nature preserve and wildlife corridor representing a valuable extensive ecosystem -- OR -- isolated parks scattered across the city to be used for paved trails or playgrounds that have no intrinsic environmental or ecological value by themselves?

The City of Eagan could purchase two parcels of land -- the privately-owned Caponi Art Park or land to the north of Patrick Eagan Park along Lexington Avenue [i.e., Patrick McCarthy's farmland.]

  1. Which parcel would you prioritize for acquisition by the City -- the Caponi Art Park OR the land north of Patrick Eagan Park?

            a. Caponi Art Park ..... 16%
            b. North / Patrick Eagan ..... 28%
            c. Both ..... 13%
            d. Neither ..... 11%
            e. Indifferent ..... 11%
            d. Don't Know / Refused ..... 8%
  1. Are there any other currently undeveloped parcels of land you would prioritize for City purchase? If yes, where are they located?

            a unsure ..... 6%
            b. no ..... 88%
            c. Lexington & Wescott ..... 2%
            d. Scattered ..... 2%
  1. Would you support a property tax increase to fund the acquisition of the parcels of land by the City of Eagan? Do you feel strongly that way?

            a strongly yes ..... 15%
            b. yes ..... 54%
            c. no ..... 16%
            d. strongly no ..... 2%
            d. unsure ..... 14%
  1. How much would you be willing to pay in additional property taxes to support the acquisition of land for preservation, greenway, or park development? Let's say, would you be willing to pay an additional $____ per month?

            a $12.00 ..... 3%
            b. $10.00 ..... 11%
            c. $8.00 ..... 7%
            d. $6.00 ..... 8%
            d. $4.00 ..... 10%
            c. $2.00 ..... 14%
            d. Nothing ..... 27%
            d. Unsure ..... 22%

Summary of Financial Details behind Interest in Purchasing Additional Undeveloped Land in Eagan:

If the City were to acquire land for preservation as open spaces, greenway, or park development, the typical resident would support a yearly property tax increase of $23.00. 27% oppose a tax increase for this purpose, while 29% support tax increases approximately twice as high as the norm. A City of Eagan open space bond referendum with a tax impact at this level would have a solid chance of passage, given an aggressive grassroots effort.

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