EG Today & Tomorrow Survey: People Value Schools, Downtown Most

by | Jan 3, 2020

Above: Photo by Ian Iannuccilli.

East Greenwich News ran a survey from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 as a followup to the EG Today & Tomorrow forum at the Odeum Nov. 18. The survey was brief, just five questions, and more than 300 people completed it, 85 percent identifying themselves as residents (5 percent said they were members of the EG business community; the rest marked “other.”) The results are below.

Docks on Greenwich Cove. Credit: Ray Johnson

The primary thrust of the answers will come as no surprise to anyone who’s spent much time living or working in East Greenwich – by a wide margin, respondents said schools were the town’s most valuable asset (42 percent), followed by Main Street* (22 percent). Perhaps more surprising, “our location within the state” ranked third, with 14 percent. 

A few respondents were frustrated that they could only choose one, saying they felt strongly that schools and Main Street were important. (Survey design is something of an art. EG News will be taking lessons from this one!)

The next question, “What is the biggest challenge facing the town?” brought schools and property taxes into juxtaposition, with “maintaining and improving the quality of our schools” edging out “property taxes” by 3 percentage points (36 percent to 33 percent). “Keeping businesses in East Greenwich” came in third, with 25 percent. 

“EG is such a wonderful place with a vibrant downtown & rural areas. Let’s keep that vibe.”

The most popular response to “What is something you wish EG had?” was “more downtown parking” (27 percent, or 83 people). No surprise. But the response that came in second was “underground power lines.” As the survey designer, I’ll admit I was thinking about the Main Street power lines, but I wonder now if some of  65 people (21 percent) of people who put that as their number 1 desire for East Greenwich may well have been thinking about their own neighborhoods, with the experience of recent power outages across town because of downed tree limbs.

“Parking is a nightmare. How can the waterfront or downtown grow without a plan?”

Coming in third in the wish category was better access to the waterfront, with 17 percent. East Greenwich may have gained in safety when train grade crossings were eliminated back in the mid-1900s, but it lost plentiful easy access to the waterfront. 

“Concerned about small shops surviving on Main Street. Too many storefronts are real estate or salons. Restaurants are great but need more small shops to go into.”

Schools (“excellent schools” to be exact) came in first again on the final substantive question of the survey: “What is it you want to preserve about East Greenwich?” with 36 percent, but as mirrored in the first question, “vibrant downtown” came in second with 31 percent. Ranking third was “sense of community” at 20 percent. 

“EG needs a sports complex. Build a hockey and pool facility and the town will see return on investment. Both these sports have one thing in common: They have tournaments. We have hotels and we have things to do in a centrally located place between Boston and New York. It will bring people, business growth. It’s not cheap yet it impacts everything in the town positively. “

Respondents offered plenty of additional comments, everything from “It’s a great town – don’t mess it up!” to “EG has gotten expensive and has forgotten its heritage.” You can find the results and all the comments here: EG T&T 2019 Survey Results.

If you did not take the survey and have something to add, leave a comment. We hope to provide more forums going forward – if you have a topic idea for one of those, share that too!  

*We used “Main Street” instead of “downtown” for no particular reason and we suspect most respondents would consider the two terms interchangeable.


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January 3, 2020 10:47 pm

What is the town going to do about people speeding down Main St.? Why can’t more speed limit signs be posted along Main St.?

Why is there a monopoly by 1 valet company in town controlling all the parking and causing issues with the residents where they park customer cars?

January 4, 2020 11:46 am

My husband and I walk on Main Street regularly. Living close to town is one of the things we most enjoy about living here. We have noticed over the past year an increase in litter, garbage on the sidewalks. I hope that the Town Council reads this article and spends some money in cleaning up Main Street. It’s well worth the investment.

January 5, 2020 8:03 pm
Reply to  Erin

Hi, read your comment and will bring it to the TMs attention. Thanks, Caryn Corenthal, TC member.

Henry Pedro
Henry Pedro
January 4, 2020 12:36 pm

We need to control development. This Dense development under the disguise of affordable housing is going to tax our ability to provide services which will lead to increase in taxes and force low to middle income to leave. A very undesirable outcome.

Judy Stenberg
Judy Stenberg
January 4, 2020 8:08 pm

A big DITTO to Henry Pedro’s comment

Jenny Souther
Jenny Souther
January 5, 2020 10:22 am

I can’t believe that in this beautiful town, we don’t have a dog park. Lots of us would like to be able to let our furry friends run around and play safely and legally, but don’t have big fenced in yards to accommodate them. Perhaps an area that’s a real park in Scalloptown instead of the “unofficial” park it is. I bet crowd funding could pay for it.


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