Over the past few months, the LOR Foundation has been working hard to understand what matters most to locals, with Questa community officer Maria Gonzalez serving as “question asker in chief:” What issues need the most attention right now? What solutions might help improve them? And to what extent is the quality of life in Questa improving?
With these questions in mind, Gonzalez and other LOR staff asked Questa residents to complete a survey earlier this summer at the Fish Fiesta, the Fiestas de San Antonio, as well as online throughout the month of June. Overall, locals shared a positive outlook on the community, with about 90 percent of respondents saying quality of life had improved or stayed the same during the past year.
However, many also pointed out several issues that need addressing — chief among them the local economy, housing, and education. Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated the local economy could use a boost, particularly in terms of creating jobs that pay a living wage and training workers for skilled trades. A third of respondents noted that Questa would benefit from more affordable housing, while a similar number added that Questa’s youth would benefit from diverse educational opportunities.
“It’s so important to hear directly from residents about the issues they feel are important,” Gonzalez says. “We’re always looking for local champions to share ideas and help us make Questa an even better place to live. Our survey really helped us understand those issues, and we’re counting on people to come to the table with solutions we can support.”
Already, dozens of Questa locals have contacted Gonzalez with ideas — several of which became solutions that will be implemented as the school year gets underway this month. For instance, a staff member with Questa Independent School District reached out to Gonzalez this summer with an idea for launching a free astronomy program. With LOR’s help the district purchased a telescope that students and families will use to advance their knowledge of both astronomy and astrology in the years to come.
Another solution materialized this summer when a local coach proposed launching a football program for middle schoolers. Historically, Questa middle schoolers who wanted to play football have had to travel to other communities. Starting this year, thanks in part to helmets and pads LOR helped the school district purchase, kids will learn the game on their home turf.
If you’d like to share a potential solution like these with Gonzalez, she will be at Rael’s Market on August 12 and 13 for the Questa Art Tour, and would love to hear from you. You can also reach out to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (575) 665-2001.