About 80% of survey respondents said the city offers a 'good' or 'excellent' quality of life.
When City Councilman Nick Klufas took all the words in the comment section of the city's recent web-based citizen survey and plotted them on a word cloud, two issues rose to the top: "jobs" and "street lights."
The word "job" appears 506 times, often in comments from people saying there aren't enough jobs available. The phrase "street light" or "street lights" appears 159 times, almost exclusively from people saying the city doesn't have enough lighting.
Often, commenters raised both issues together. "Not many jobs here," one person wrote. "Also, it's a dark city. No lights. ... At night it's too dark and creepy."
"Rent prices getting too high considering the lack of decent paying jobs in the area," another person wrote.
Residents have also long complained about the city's lack of sidewalks.
"No sidewalks on residential streets, no street lighting, considering the price we pay for taxes and water bill not fair for all," one resident wrote in late February.
The death of local high school student Michelle Taylor, who was struck by a car as she walked alongside an unlighted stretch of Lakeview Boulevard March 2, brought the streetlight issue to public attention while the survey was underway.
But many residents complained about the lack of street lights and sidewalks in comments that were submitted before March 2. Two residents also specifically complained in February about the lack of sidewalks on Lakeview, with one saying sidewalks there are "desperately needed."
The city's survey contained a specific question about streetlights, but it asked residents only if they thought there were enough lights "along major traffic corridors."
Only about 25% of respondents said they thought there weren't enough lights on major traffic corridors.
Residents voiced another common Palm Coast complaint in their comments on the survey: "Too many rules."
The word "rules" appeared 99 times, and in 30 cases was preceded by the word "many."
Other residents talked about what they liked about the town. The word "love" appears in the survey comments 427 times — often, though not always, as people praised the city.
"Love the climate, atmosphere, cleanliness, service," one person wrote.
"We moved to PC in 1998 and loved being close to tourist sites without living in one," another person wrote. "It appears that the city and county are trying to increase tourism here. Just what we didn't want."
Some residents used salty language: City staff posted the survey results to the city's website, then realized the document contained profanity, and pulled it down to redact the curse words before posting it again.
Of the 2,184 written responses, 15 had words redacted — often in comments about the city's code enforcement department.
Of the total who responded, a total of 80% gave the city positive ratings on general quality of life.
About 54% said they considered it "very likely" that they would live in Palm Coast for the next five years, and another 17% said it was "somewhat likely."
Residents overwhelmingly said they felt safe in their neighborhoods, and over half said they use the city's trail system at least monthly. Waterfront Park and Central Park in own Center had the highest number of users. The Palm Coast Tennis Center had the least.
View the full survey results at http://bit.ly/2nBfgn7.