Fate, Texas, is a smaller growing city. Like many small communities in the US, there are fewer healthcare services or healthy food options. Residents expressed their desire for more health services in a Polco survey.
Listening to resident feedback, Fate recently opened a new park, added new park amenities, and redeveloped unused land into a food court. Many new restaurants opened, including a new grocery store. Both provided more food options.
Resident approval ratings for health and wellness improved in all areas.
The improvements won Fate a 2022 year Voice of the People Award (VOP) for Transformation in Health and Wellness. The Voice of the People Awards, presented in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), are the only national awards given to local governments based on resident feedback.
Fate Residents Needed More Health and Wellness Opportunities
Smaller cities offer more space and often have a strong sense of community. But because there are fewer people, access to healthcare services is a challenge for many small towns across the US.
The City of Fate, Texas, is home to 25,000 residents, many of whom are new due to a recent population boom. The growing small city has faced similar healthcare challenges as other small towns.
Fate conducted The National Community Survey(The NCS), an assessment that measures resident opinions about their city. Results showed residents needed better access to health and wellness opportunities and health services, as well as access to quality food.
Fate Joe Burger Park plan
Fate Built a New Park and Added New Park Amenities
“Our City Council and our leadership staff, we get together and we look at [The NCS] results—even in city council meetings—and we have difficult conversations about those numbers that aren't necessarily scoring high,” said Spencer Foster, Fate’s Assistant City Manager.
Aligning City Council’s goals with resident feedback helps the City prioritize the budget and work plans for the year.
Part of those plans was the recently-opened Joe Burger Park on the south side of Fate.
Parks are excellent gathering places, and they increase access to green space in communities. But they also offer residents an outdoor space to be active and improve their physical well-being.
The ribbon cutting took place after the survey results were in, but the anticipation changed people’s perspectives. Foster suspects this led to health and wellness improvements on The NCS.
“The excitement that they had for this future park contributed to those numbers going up,” Foster said. “People saw they could walk to this park, enjoy the basketball court, the pickleball court, tennis court, and the playgrounds with their kids.”
The City added new park amenities to an existing green space as well. Upgrades included a fitness area, basketball and pickleball courts, and a splash pad. The City also recently launched youth sports programming through Rockwall County YMCA.
In addition to the park amenity updates, Fate built new walking paths that connect areas that were previously cut off from each other.
There are also many more places to eat in Fate. Previously, commercial centers were not having the same growth as residential areas. But a new food truck park in their downtown area now has five different dining options. New restaurants opened downtown. Plus, Fate’s very first grocery store recently opened. Fresh by Brookshire’s is a high-end grocery store that also has a food court, coffee shop, bar, and grab-and-go options.
“It really became a central hub in our community where folks will come to grab a sushi bowl, some barbecue, pizza, or gourmet sandwich,” said Shelbi Stofer, Fate Public Engagement Coordinator.
Fate health and wellness improvements on The NCS
Fate Health and Wellness Ratings Increased Across the Board
Fate’s health and wellness scores improved on all fronts. Overall resident approval of health and wellness opportunities increased by 4%. Community members' opinions on the availability of affordable health care jumped by 6%. And the new grocery store had a huge impact; there was a massive 20% leap in approval of access to quality affordable food.
Both local government and private sector improvements shifted the community's perspective of Fate’s health and wellness.The new grocery store had a direct impact on the community’s access to food, while the new park indirectly influenced opinions of Fate’s health and wellness.
The results reflect the City’s dedication to resident feedback and making incremental improvements each year.
“We talk about things that can help us be a better city, be safer, and be more healthy,” Foster said. “That’s how we’ve improved. We're not afraid to look at the survey results, have the hard conversations, and then try to improve.”
Learn What Community Priorities Are Most Important to Your Residents
You can move mountains when government and resident priorities align. Polco can help you engage with the community to discover what’s most important to them, so you know where to focus your budgets and plans and solve problems together. Request information from one of our engagement experts to learn more.