“You rest, you rust” is the sentiment behind the decision to ask Cumberland residents to retake a 15-year-old survey to gauge what they want to see improved and what’s working well in town.

A 2007 survey is being made available again to compare “apples to apples” about recreation, economic development, growth management, public utilities, affordable housing and other issues, Town Council Vice Chairperson Allison Foster said.

The results will also be used to inform town officials on residents’ priorities and to ensure Cumberland is moving in the right direction, Foster said.

“We bucketed (our goals) into three main themes, which were long-term town planning, community programs and services, and sustainability,” she said. “We had different themes under each of those that were more tactical. Under long-term planning, we wanted to better understand the changes that have happened in our community in recent years, including housing turnover, growth and COVID on top of all of that, which has changed how people work and live.”

All of the questions in the survey are the same as 2007, except for demographic-related questions. Due to the COVID pandemic, questions about commuting and working from home were added. The survey consists of 110 questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

In 2007, the mailed paper surveys received a 32% response rate. Cumberland’s adult population is now about 6,300, and Foster hopes about half will respond this time around through the online survey. The survey opened on Feb. 18; as of March 7, the town has received 850 responses, which is about 13.5% of the adult population and puts the town at about 27% of its goal.


The survey, which is open to anyone 18 or older, will be closing sometime late this month. More information and the link can be found at cumberlandmaine.com. Call 207-829-5559 to have a hard copy mailed, or to pick one up at Town Hall.

The town council is expected to review the results in May. Depending on what is revealed, a follow-up survey with more specific questions may follow, Foster said.

“The two years of COVID have made real relationship-building and in-person participation impossible most times and now while we recover, we need help determining what Cumberland residents value,” Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane said. “What is working well and not so well?

“You rest, you rust,” Shane said. “We’d love to hear from many so we can continue to provide a quality lifestyle.”

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