Thank you to the 159 respondents who participated in the first ‘Park Ridge Wonderful’ Poll! It was great to hear what people love about Park Ridge and learn about areas in which you see opportunity for Park Ridge to grow! We received responses from a wide range of ages (18 years to 66+ years) and neighborhood affiliations; from residents (60%) and business owners (5%), to employees (9%) and visitors (23%). The 4% of poll respondents who marked ‘other’ in regards to their relationship to Park Ridge, expanded on their relationship to the city, noting (1) living nearby, (2) wanting family to move there, (3) desire to do business in Park Ridge, and (4) community involvement, ranging from children attending Park Ridge schools to individuals active with local social organizations.
Participant Profile | Age + Relationship to the City
How would you describe Park Ridge TODAY?
When asked, “What three words would you use to describe Park Ridge TODAY?,” ‘Quaint’ (8%), ‘Family Oriented’ (8%), and ‘Friendly’ (8%) were the top three themes that emerged, followed by ‘Community’ (5%), ‘Growing’ (5%), ‘Alive’ (4%), ‘Expensive’ (3%), ‘Quiet’ (3%), and ‘Safe’ (3%). Some other common themes used to describe Park Ridge TODAY can be seen in the Wordle below – the larger the word the more times it was noted; words that were noted once are not included.
How would you like to see Park Ridge in the FUTURE?
When asked, “What three words would you use to describe Park Ridge as you’d like it to be in the FUTURE?,” ‘Friendly’ (9%), ‘Diverse’ (6%), and ‘Vibrant’ (6%) were the top three themes that emerged, followed by ‘Community’ (5%), ‘Progressive’ (5%), ‘Sustainable’ (4%), ‘Quaint’ (4%), ‘Fun’ (3%), ‘Active’ (3%), and ‘Family’ (3%). Some other common themes used to describe Park Ridge’s FUTURE can be seen in the Wordle below!
What are Park Ridge’s greatest assets?
When asked about Park Ridge’s greatest assets, the top three responses were ‘Location, Access, Mobility’ (24%), ‘Great Schools’ (17%), and ‘Family-Friendly’ (16%), followed by ‘Downtown/Uptown’ (11%), ‘People/Community Relationships’ (8%), ‘Historic Charm’ (7%), ‘Local Parks/Access to Nature’ (6%), ‘Events + Festivals’ (4%), ‘Neighborhoods’ (3%), ‘Other’ (2%), and ‘Local Businesses’ (1%). Those who responded ‘Other’ highlighted the (1) Library, (2) Park Ridge being quiet and (3) reasonable property taxes.
What is Park Ridge’s biggest challenge/opportunity for improvement?
When asked about Park Ridge’s biggest challenges/opportunities for improvement, the top three responses were ‘Economic Development/Business Vitality’ (26%), ‘Parking’ (13%), and ‘Sustainability/Green Infrastructure’ (12%), followed by ‘Other’ (10%), ‘Bike +Transit’ (9%), ‘Arts + Culture’ (8%), ‘Destination/Activities’ (8%), ‘Community Identity/Marketing’ (8%) , and ‘Housing Diversity’ (6%). Nearly 10% of the respondents voted ‘Other’ and shared a written response, the majority of which focused on:
- Traffic Mitigation
- Lack of Diversity
- Access to amenities
- Arts and Education
- Aging Infrastructure
- Airport Noise
Which elements foster healthy, vibrant communities?
When asked what elements contribute MOST to fostering healthy, vibrant communities, the top four responses were ‘Open Space, Parks + Recreation’ (19%), ‘Social Activities + Community Cohesion’ (18%), ‘Business + Workforce Development’ (12%), and ‘Arts, Culture + Community Programming’ (12%), followed by ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity’ (11%), ‘Transportation + Ease of Mobility’ (10%), ‘Environment + Sustainability’ (8%), ‘Quality Housing + Development’ (8%), and ‘Other’ (2%). Those who responded ‘Other’ highlighted (1) schools, (2) community pride, and (3) lower taxes.
How do we make Park Ridge an even more wonderful place?
The last question of the survey was open-ended to encourage free expression of thoughts and ideas on how to make Park Ridge an even more wonderful place. Out of the total 159 respondents, 40% shared their insights and ideas, here are a few of ideas:
- “Continue offering the arts: concerts in the parks, taste of Park Ridge, and other fairs are so important to our town. I would also love to see a nice facility for sports. Our town has opportunity to grow in that respect. I love Park Ridge!”
- “Make Park Ridge a destination and add to the arts/culture of the community; cute, independent coffee shops/bakeries, and more diversity in the types of businesses.”
- “My two biggest concerns about PR life are flooding and airplane noise.”
- “Uptown makes me nostalgic for my hometown. It’s a small town feel. I like that we could be around anywhere in PR and see someone we know.”
- “Making these streets [Dee Rd, Busse Hwy, NW Hwy] more compatible with walking and cycling would improve businesses viability / development, reduce dependence on cars for short trips, and increase real estate value.”
- “Park Ridge was known to be an artistic community. Keep the architecture, capitalize on the historic side of the town, continue classical things like music in the park, great schools, kid friendly activities, etc.”
- “The Dee Metra area is a strange outlier when you compare it to almost every other station area on the NW line. The development is opposite of transit-oriented, i.e. B3 zoning, high off-street parking requirements…. There are a few relatively simple tweaks to the zoning code and map that I believe would be catalytic.”
- “Understand why businesses are leaving, both independent and national chains – and work to remedy this. Focus and build on strengths, like the farmers market and summer arts programs.”
- “I want to see the city recruit businesses and restaurants that have been successful in other small burbs such as Elmhurst, Geneva, and Libertyville.”
- “I would love to see more things like Restaurant Week, where we are encouraged and enticed to support our local businesses.”
- “Continue to be welcoming to new businesses such as Pennyville Station. Seek out more retail shopping that can pump up the tax base.”
- “Support downtown businesses that foster social engagement.”
Open Response Themes
- More family centered / winter activities
- Additional events – festivals, arts, concerts, fairs
- Indoor play space
- Greater tax base for business growth
- Make PR a destination spot
- Invest in the community
- Recruit and welcome new businesses
- Opportunities and programs to help businesses thrive
- Park enhancements – playground updates, walking trails, picnic areas
- Become more sustainable (recycling, composting, native landscaping)
- Fix roads, flooding and airplane noise
- Housing diversity
- Socio-economic diversity
- Encourage change, vision, vitality
- Be a “bike city”
- Traffic mitigation
Thanks again for sharing your insights with Park Ridge’s first poll in the comprehensive planning process. Stay tuned — Poll #2 is coming soon! Register your email to receive instant updates on workshops and project-related announcements!