SJ-R Editorial Board: Survey is a starting point for improvement

Editorial board op-ed on the Sangamon County Citizen Survey.

A new, in-depth quality-of-life survey of Sangamon County residents confirms a lot of things people here already know or suspect.

Residents think it’s a great place to raise children. Good schools and abundant educational opportunities are a big priority. A vibrant downtown is important, as are adequate police and fire coverage. People are generally content with the pace of improvements to roads and sewers, as well as the high-speed rail expansion. They enjoy their parks and libraries but want more festivals, farmer’s markets and things to do.

But some troubling, less-than-rosy findings cropped up in the Sangamon County Citizen Survey – evidence that county and Springfield leaders have work to do when it comes to bridging the divide between the haves and have-nots in this community.

For example, more than 11 percent of the respondents said they don’t have health-care coverage, which is lower than the statewide estimate of 13.1 percent. Nearly 14 percent do not have a primary health-care provider. This is happening in a city with a thriving medical district, two major hospitals, a large medical clinic, a medical school and a nursing school.