What is the general business climate of Florence like?
The quality of life?
How about the available workforce?
What types of housing opportunities should the city focus its resources on?
What is an affordable purchase price for a home in Florence?
These are just some of the many survey questions that the Housing Opportunities and Economics Project (HEOP) is asking Florence area questions.
Commissioned by the City of Florence, HEOP is looking at the link between housing and the economy, an extraordinarily complex relationship that deals with issues of home pricing, housing types, industry revitalization and bringing outside businesses to the community.
It’s a tall order, and the group needs the help of Florence area residents.
“We’d like to make sure we’re hitting the nail on the head with what the community needs,” said Florence Economic Development Coordinator Kelli Weese.
The project is running a four-page survey for Florence-area residents to help find the direction of where the commission will go. It is open through Sept. 15.
“We’re typing to figure out what are our major issues with housing and with jobs, but we also want to hear from the community because nobody knows better than those who live here,” Weese said.
Survey questions run the gamut from how much a rental dwelling should cost per month to what the city’s strengths and weaknesses are as a whole.
The answers to these questions will help inform city officials in the rules and regulations they create in the coming years.
But getting people to think about these issues can be difficult.
The Siuslaw News conducted an impromptu survey with residents of the city on some of the questions.
For some people, the city needs a brand before it begins building.
“Somehow, the Florence experience has to unite (the different) people who live here,” said Florence resident Stephanie Ames. “When I was a young woman, Florence was a logging and fishing town. Now, we’re a tourist town and we have to embrace it, manage it and be it.”
For others, the issues seemed too complex to answer.
Barbara Rasmussen of Florence said, “I don’t know that much about why businesses don’t come here. I’d have to research that.”
A few people interviewed stated that since they had lived here less than a year, they did not feel they had the right to talk about what the city needed.
And for some, these ideas just never came up.
“I haven’t really thought about it a lot,” said area resident Brenda, who chose not to use her last name.
Weese hopes that people will take the time to think about these issues.
“If you care about the price of homes and the availability of jobs,” she said, “the survey is a chance to make a difference.”
The survey can be found at www.ci.florence.or.us or at Florence City Hall, 250 Highway 101.