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Counties to conduct needs survey

By The Mercury

Residents of Riley and Pottawatomie counties will have a chance to provide input regarding the quality of life in their communities – and to identify what they perceive as possible improvements.

The Riley County Seniors’ Services Center is coordinating a comprehensive needs assessment, courtesy of a grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation-Manhattan Fund – with additional funding from Mercy Regional Health Center, Riley County Council on Aging, United Way and the Wamego Health Center.

Residents can complete the needs assessment survey by going online at:

There are adult and youth surveys and they can be submitted through Monday, May 26.

The surveys also can be printed out, filled out as hard copies and dropped off at the Seniors’ Services Center, 301 N. 4th St. in Manhattan.

“It’s been more than 20 years since our last community needs assessment was done,” said Jami Ramsey, director of the center. “Our community has changed a lot since 1992, when the last assessment was done.

“The (Services Center) needs up-to-date and reliable information about the community’s needs, and we know other community agencies need the information, too.”

The survey, which is available in English, Spanish and Korean, will take a bit of time to complete – as the issues covered include quality of life, physical health, mental health, social issues, children and youth, education, aging, housing, transportation, infrastructure, economics and personal finance.

“Because this is a comprehensive community needs assessment, it’s long,” said Debbie Nuss, center project coordinator. “We hope people will be patient and take the 20 to 30 minutes needed to complete the survey.

“The more people who complete it, the better we will know what the community thinks it needs.”

Final results of the survey will be available in late fall.

The information gathered should help local organizations and agencies determine how to direct their resources. along with supporting requests for funds from outside granting agencies. 

In addition, United Way plans to organize “community conversations” to talk about the survey results.

“The conversations will focus on the unmet needs that have been identified by the survey and what we, as a community, might want to do to address them,” said Lee Ann Smith Desper, United Way director.

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