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St. Paul survey finds residents love their river

A recent survey says that 82 percent of St. Paul residents believe the Mississippi River is a favorable asset for our community.

After seeing those results from the St. Paul Riverfront Corp., I couldn’t help but wonder: Do the other 18 percent think the Mississippi is a bad thing? What are they thinking?

Patrick Seeb, executive director of the Riverfront Corp., reports that 63 percent of city residents consider access to our part of the river excellent or good.

He also says: “Residents overwhelmingly agree that the river is important to the region’s history and culture, a place of scenic beauty, and a great place for families and recreation. Deeply ingrained also is the belief that the Mississippi is a national treasure — America’s Greatest River.”

Respondents believe the most important benefits of riverfront redevelopment are helping the local economy and increasing tourism, and 73 percent favor redevelopment that blends a mix of parks and green spaces, housing and commercial development.

“We did the field work last November, and now we’re working through the data,” Seeb said.

He joked that they were going to wait until after the election to release the results, “but now, who knows when that will be?”

The survey also identified areas for improvement, he said.

“Certainly, we can work to improve access and move our 63 percent excellent or good rating closer to that of our neighboring twin, where 82 percent of Minneapolitans feel access to the Chain of Lakes is excellent or good.

“Many residents feel that poor water quality is a barrier to recreation and enjoyment,” he said, noting that 84 percent say that clean water is critically important. They also gave high rankings for the river’s natural resources and its scenery.

Survey results showed that another barrier to access and enjoyment of the river is a lack of information about available amenities. “These are all things we can work on as a community to fully maximize the benefits of the Mississippi in our lives and our neighborhoods,” Seeb said.

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