League City might be caught in some strange, four-year loop.
Four years ago, the City Council shot down the idea of a dog park — a fenced area on public property where dogs can run off the leash.
Last week, the idea came up again. Councilman Andy Mann suggested building a dog park next to the city’s new police station on West Walker Street.
That discussion was interesting. But it led to an even more interesting discussion on another topic that also was hashed out four years ago.
On Tuesday, the discussion of the dog park evolved into a discussion of what residents really want, which evolved into a discussion of a survey.
Four years ago, League City conducted a survey that was compatible with the National Citizen Survey. That’s a project of the International City/County Management Association and the National Research Center.
The beauty of that idea was that the data collected in League City could be compared with data from other cities.
That survey, conducted in 2010, suggested that League City residents were interested in dog parks but they were more concerned about sidewalks and traffic signals. You could say that with some confidence because the survey had some context to it — in this case a national database.
The survey had some other interesting points. It showed how League City residents interacted with their police and fire departments. It showed what League City residents thought about the city’s commercial areas.
In conducting the survey, the city was doing what most good businesses do. It was finding out what the customers wanted.
Unfortunately, the survey became a political issue. And so the idea of having an annual survey that produced results that could be benchmarked to a national database quietly died.
That’s why last week the council was wondering — as if it were a brand new idea — whether it would be a good idea to find out what the citizens want.
Actually, that is a good idea. The council ought to try that survey again.
League City has a new city manager, Mark Rohr, who has a reputation for helping the communities he’s served identify long-term goals and focus on them.
Reviving that survey would be a good way to involve the community in finding its vision. It’s always good to know what a majority of the customers think about a community’s long-range goals.
Other cities in Galveston County ought to take a look at that survey, too.