Survey could lead to plan for Horizon Drive
Mesa State College students will survey nearly 240 businesses in the Horizon Drive Business District beginning Tuesday as part of a two-month effort to gather information for a strategic plan for the district.
The district was founded in 2004 and encompasses hotels, offices, restaurants and other businesses along Horizon Drive and side streets between G and H roads.
District representative Victoria Patsantaras said the goal of the survey is to learn what businesses in the area see as barriers to growth, valuable assets to expansion, and what they are paying, earning and purchasing.
Board Director and Clarion Inn General Manager Lynne Sorlye said the board knows the district has a “huge impact on the economy of Grand Junction based on the number of businesses out here.” But the survey will attempt to pinpoint exactly how big that impact is.
“The surveys will help us understand and anticipate the needs of the district going forward,” she said.
Georgann Jouflas, who oversees the Entrepreneurship Club at Mesa State, has recruited a handful of students to pass out and collect the surveys, which mostly include questions Jouflas uses on her Listening to Business Survey. The Listening to Business survey, primarily funded by economic development groups such as the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, interviews about 100 local businesses over a six-month period to gauge Grand Valley business’ feelings about the economy, expansion, and business challenges and supports.
A few district-specific questions will be added to the survey, including a question about whether businesses feel traffic is pedestrian-friendly in the area.
Jouflas said the survey will take business and property owners about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and will inform plans for the next 10 to 15 years in the district.
“It’s worth their while to take the time to do it,” she said.
Jouflas and a couple of interns will input the survey results into a national software program that can compare the answers with corresponding data from other cities. In addition to the survey data, Jouflas and John Redifer, head of Mesa State’s social and behavioral sciences department, will present a final report to the district detailing growth projections, property types and values, traffic and safety issues in the area, and business perceptions.
That final report is due by late April and will help the Horizon Drive Business District Board as it works on a strategic plan for the area.
The strategic plan will inform businesses as well as potential investors and help the district decide where it wants to go. That includes pinpointing where redevelopment may be needed and helping the district figure out what it wants to be in addition to a tourism-friendly area. Horizon Drive has the advantage of being the major street to Grand Junction Regional Airport.
“It’s not just the lodging corridor. It’s the business district of the Grand Valley,” Patsantaras said.
The board will advise the city in the next few years as the city moves to adopt a corridor plan for the Horizon Drive area.
The district also is working on a new website, where the survey results will be displayed, and businesses interested in moving into the district can learn more about it. The new Web address will be HorizonDriveDistrict.com. It replaces the district’s current site, HorizonDrive.net.