Survey: Platteville scores high on quality of life, but more shopping sought

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Data from a new survey characterizes the City of Platteville as a desired place in which to live, but one that could improve its offerings for tourists and shoppers.

The survey found that 72% of respondents rated Platteville a good or excellent city in which to live, while 51% rated it good or excellent as a place to work. Just 39% said the same for visiting.

“In general, I agree with it,” said Common Council Member Ken Kilian.

The data were compiled from an online survey of Platteville residents and property owners in August and September. Most questions garnered at least 700 responses, with some receiving more than 1,000.

Wayne Wodarz, executive director of Platteville Regional Chamber, said the organization this year has promoted the area as a destination for all-terrain and utility vehicle riders.

“With the leaves changing, we have a lot of ATV-ers come to Platteville,” he said. “It’s been helping our lodging properties as well.”

Survey participants gave a nod to the city’s outdoor amenities, with 67% indicating they were somewhat or extremely satisfied with Platteville’s green spaces and 74% with its parks.

Impressions of the local education system also ranked highly among survey participants, receiving an average score of 85 out of 100.

But community members desire more opportunities for enrichment, with the city receiving a score of 69 out of 100. Several respondents requested pickleball courts and a splash pad.

Parks and Recreation Director Luke Peter said the demand for additional recreation is ever-present and opportunities depend on the money the city can invest.

City services, including library, fire and trash, received high marks, but residents expressed less satisfaction with code enforcement.

Joe Carroll, community development director, said the perceptions might stem from staff turnover. Inspections slowed in recent months as the city sought to fill a vacant city inspector position.

The survey also reflected strong demand for more retail establishments, with 47% rating the city’s existing opportunities as somewhat below average or far below average.

“It’s something that we are working on all the time,” said Jack Luedtke, executive director of Platteville Main Street Program.

But, he added, while community members desire new businesses, proprietors often are challenged for a lack of patronage, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had people requesting a bakery in town, and we had a bakery in town, and it was not really supported,” Luedtke said. “If (residents) want their downtown to succeed, they really have to support them during this troubling time.”

City leaders incorporated the feedback into Platteville’s 2021-2023 strategic plan, which designates as goals the attraction of new employers and increased marketing efforts.