Boone County surveys youth about future of community - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Boone County surveys youth about future of community

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BOONE COUNTY (WREX) -

A new survey in Boone County shows more than half of students in the area don't plan to put down roots where they grew up.

"They move across the border or to the other side of the country and they take they're benefits to that community over there. We need to keep those people here," said Chairman Karl Johnson. 

That survey is part of the county's new comprehensive plan, which lays out goals for the community over the next decade. 

Part of that effort was to get feedback from young people about what they think of the area.

"We really need to take into account what these kids have to say and value it," said 

Hilary Rottmann spoke to nearly 200 students at area high schools and says youth retention is one of the biggest areas of concern.

"We definitely have to think creatively. This is a time when we have all odds against us," said Rottmann.

That's why leaders say this new plan is so important, to find out what the county could do to keep more of them here. 

"That's how we keep our community growing and sustained and with quality people who can guide us in the future," said Johnson.

In the survey, top priorities for these students included...community health, public safety and improving education 

They also want to see more restaurants and retail spaces. 

All ideas the county hopes to address with the new comprehensive plan.

"What are we doing to attract our youth, and to address the skills gap, and how are we going to address their current and future needs," said Growth Dimensions executive director Pamela Lopez-Fettes.

Questions the county says are important if its going to keep young people home in the Stateline.

The survey also asked students where they would move if they left Boone county, the majority answered either to the Chicago suburbs or southern and western states.

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