1,000-plus survey responses surprise DDA officials
There were many more responses to the downtown housing survey than the consulting firm conducting the survey expected, said Harry Weiss, Downtown Development Authority executive director.
About 1,000 surveys were submitted electronically and an undetermined number of paper surveys were completed through Dec. 20, when the online survey ended, Weiss said.
“It was huge. The housing consultant (Melanie Rees) was really surprised. She said they’d never had such a good response to an online survey,” he said.
Responses to a paper survey distributed to downtown workers and independent seniors are still trickling in, he said.
Demand in other places around the country shows downtown workers and independent seniors are logical markets for downtown housing, Weiss said.
Weiss declined to release specific numbers until the final data is crunched, but a preliminary look at survey responses suggest “a very high level of interest about being able to live downtown,” he said.
Rees Consulting of Crested Butte, a firm that specializes in finding solutions to problems with sustainable, affordable housing, will be in town this week to conduct focus groups and make a preliminary report about the results of the survey to the downtown housing steering committee, Weiss said.
Rees will provide more analysis of the responses and correlate it with current U.S. Census data, he said.
Next comes a series of six-person focus groups to “facilitate a conversation.” The groups will include Realtors, who deal in the for-sale side of the market; a group of property managers, who deal with the rental side of things; and a group of people who currently live downtown.
“That’s mainly to say, what are the realities of living downtown?” Weiss said. “So, what time do they really crash the dumpsters when you’re trying to sleep. How do you feel about parking and ease of parking? How does it feel to be a single woman in downtown coming home to your apartment at one o’clock in the morning?”
Once the housing market data is compiled, the authority will host a focus group of builders and developers to discuss the findings.