In order to accurately gauge public opinion on the future growth and development of the Cedar City area as part of a 30-year strategic planning process, the office of Cedar City – Iron County Economic Development took a two-phase approach.
Over the last year, as part of the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce Vision 2050 effort, key community and business leaders shared their thoughts in several focus groups. While these groups provided necessary qualitative input, and the sessions did not incur significant costs, there was limited input gathered from the greater public and residents in the area.
To fill this data gap, the office hired the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute to conduct a public survey to assess Cedar City’s collective opinion. This comprehensive primary research came with a price tag close to $10,000.
To offset 50 percent of the survey’s cost, the office applied for an EDCUtah Special Project Match Grant.
“The Match Grant program from EDCUtah has been important for my office. We’ve been able to take advantage of the program a couple of times for professional development and training, and we’re also using funds to explore standing up a Mega Site here,” says Danny Stewart, director of the Cedar City – Iron County Economic Development Office. “Without the support of the Match Grant program, we couldn’t have moved ahead with the Gardner survey. The information we gathered in the survey has been invaluable to our planning process.”
Katherine Morrell, who managed the grant program for EDCUtah at the time, concurs. “The purpose of the Match Grant program is to encourage proactive economic development at the local level. We are excited to support Cedar City’s planning efforts with their Vision 2050 project, and are grateful for the private sponsors of the Match Grant program who have made this kind of monetary support possible.”
The questionnaire was jointly developed by Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce representatives and Gardner Institute researchers. Questions incorporated wide-ranging concerns addressed by the focus group stakeholders. The survey was conducted from October 25 – November 18, 2019, with 750 completed responses.
Respondents agreed with the twelve priorities outlined by the 2050 Vision focus groups, with their highest priorities as:
· Managing and planning for future water needs
· Developing a long-term plan for growth
· Creating higher paying jobs
Some preferred strategies include:
· Transportation: Creating a walkable and bikeable community
· Housing Affordability: Creating zones for different housing types, etc.
· Securing Water: Investing in water re-charge projects and storage
· Jobs: Attracting new employers by expanding the arts and entertainment scene, and building local infrastructure, education, and a skilled workforce
· Education: Expanding innovative and relevant educational opportunities
· Expand City Brand: Currently known as Festival City, Cedar residents believe that now is the time to expand or reinvent the brand.
The City has incorporated the results as part of their general plan update process which is currently underway.
For survey results, visit https://www.cedarcitychamber.org/vision-2050
For more information on CedarCity, visit https://www.cedarcity.org/523/Economic-Development
For more information on the Match Grant program, visit https://www.edcutah.org/investors/for-communities
Questions: Contact Elvon Farrell, community strategist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.