And The Survey Says...Posted: Updated:
The research team at Jefferson Community College spoke to 441 Jefferson County residents. The results point to one major theme - many people aren't as concerned about the county's economy as they once were.
"I don't think that folks are telling us that they're all inherently getting rich. I think what they're saying is over the last two or three years, they're feeling more positive," said Joel LaLone, JCC Center for Community Studies director.
In this year's survey, about 36 (35.8%) percent of residents said the state of the local economy was excellent or good. That's the highest in the survey's history.
The study also says more people believe Fort Drum has a positive impact on Jefferson County. Almost nine out of 10 residents (86.6%) said local community leaders should try and ensure Fort Drum is viable long-term. More than 82 percent (82.7%) also said Fort Drum positively impacts job creation.
"I believe it's true that there is a link between the sentiments about the local economy that residents expressed this year and their positive sentiments about Fort Drum," said LaLone.
The head of Jefferson County's career center agrees.
"Since they first started taking this survey in 2001, which was just before the build-up of Fort Drum, so we saw a major increase in jobs," said Cheryl Mayforth, Jeff-Lewis WorkPlace executive director.
The survey also says three-quarters of Jefferson County residents believe heroin and opioid abuse is a major issue. LaLone says that follows a trend of less concern about the availability of good jobs.
"While at the same time, concern with drugs and concern with government and leadership have spiked," he said.
The survey also asked all Jefferson County residents questions about Watertown including Thompson Park. A large majority said the city should improve the park's zoo (85.5%) and trail system (78.5%).