Ralston City Hall Asks Residents What They Want in Hinge

By 
Molly Ashford
The Daily Record

In an effort to gain perspective from community members, the City of Ralston recently launched its new the Power of Ideas initiative.

Every month or so, the city will send out a questionnaire to residents in its email database pertaining to issues in the community. The first question is regarding what kinds of businesses residents want to see in the Hinge Project, a massive local redevelopment plan. 

Ralston City Administrator Rick Hoppe credited Mayor Don Groesser with coming up with the concept for the initiative.

“With the Hinge Project, he was interested in what the community thought would be great targets for retail and commercial businesses,” Hoppe said.

Eighty-four people responded to the first survey. The most requested business types were restaurant, grocery store, brewery or winery and bakery. A hybrid bar and coffee shop, a bookstore and a clothing boutique were less popular but still notable.

One respondent said that it would be great to bring a farmer’s market into downtown Ralston. Multiple people suggested a small grocery store such as Aldi or Trader Joes.

“We absolutely need more bars and restaurants,” another respondent said. “People will always travel to find food and alcohol settings to spend an evening. If you want to be the up-and-coming new spot like Blackstone or Aksarben, this is what Ralston needs.”

“I would love to see things that are open at various times,” a different person said. “We love the cafe, but nothing is open in the evenings except Village Bar.”

Hoppe and Groesser are very pleased with the level of engagement in the kickoff survey, and the city plans to continue using new methods for community outreach.

“We want people to have real input in how we make changes and implement programs,” Hoppe said. “We may not be able to accomplish everything, but we want an idea of what would make the community feel like our investment has paid off for them.”

For the next survey, the city plans to send out a question or two pertaining to the budget. Hoppe hopes this initiative will encourage an increasing number of Ralston residents to get engaged in the city’s decision making.

“If you want to make progress in a community, there has to be some broad consensus on the choices you make,” Hoppe said. “The more people feel that they have influence on the decisions we make, the more involved they become. Having citizen involvement in our choices is extremely important.”

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