Earlier this year, the Block Island Residents Association (BIRA) Board of Directors conducted a survey of our membership and the larger Block Island Community via BIBB. Our goal was to better acquaint ourselves with the views and priorities of today’s Block Island community, and to learn how you viewed BIRA’s recent initiatives to guide us in future activities. In all, 345 individuals responded to the survey, approximately half of whom were BIRA members and half were not.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank all of you who completed the survey and provided us with such valuable feedback. We are especially grateful that, collectively, respondents varied by gender, age, and resident type.
In particular, of the 345 responses:
- 62% identified as female
- 50% were 65 and older
- 40% were between 50 and 64 years
- 11% were between 35 and 49 years.
- 50% were seasonal home-owners
- 25% were year-round residents
- 25% seasonal renters and frequent visitors
There was surprisingly broad consensus among the various groups: all affirmed the importance of the many initiatives and issues BIRA has been undertaking and supporting, however, we learned that some of our activities were not as well-known as others. This suggests a need for expanded communication about the nature of these initiatives and the work that BIRA does to support and recognize them.
The BIRA initiatives and issues rated most highly in descending order of importance were:
- BI Fire and Rescue Squad
- Moped Safety and Reform
- Dunes Restoration
- Traffic Congestion
- Conservation Easements
- Ban on Plastics
- Shoreline Access
Although there was general agreement in terms of how respondents rated the importance of each issue, it is worth noting that in a few cases there was some variance in opinion related to resident type. In particular, seasonal homeowners viewed Conservation Easements, Deer Population Control and Preservation of Viewsheds as more important than other subgroups (year-round residents, seasonal renters, and frequent visitors); Helping Hands and the Lunch Bunch were viewed as more important by year-round residents. We believe these opinions are due, in large part, to a lack of familiarity with the nature of these initiatives and their importance to the BI community, and point to the need for BIRA to engage in greater community educational outreach, which it is planning to do going forward.
Your responses also informed us that the Discount Card offered with BIRA membership, which provides a discount at many Island businesses, was infrequently used. In addition, you suggested that BIRA should consider expanding the types of memberships it offers from the current individual membership only to family, senior, and others. In the coming months, the BIRA Board will be reviewing both the discount card benefit and the types of membership offered.
BIRA exists to represent and serve Block Island’s diverse community and is proud to support a broad range of initiatives. Thank you again for your participation in the survey and your input. We look forward to continuing this dialog with the Island community to learn from you and to keep you informed of our activities.
If you would like to see the full range of responses, go to: [LINK].
If you haven’t already done so, please consider renewing your 2021 BIRA membership today: http://www.bira02807.org/support/become-a-member/
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