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As part of an ongoing strategic plan, Jefferson City and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce are seeking input from the community through an online survey.

Missy Bonnot, director of economic development for the chamber, said the Jefferson City, Missouri Community and Economic Development Strategy hopes to examine the community to figure out what changes are needed to improve it.

The process should take six months — from September 2019 to March 2020.

The strategy is being conducted with help from Market Street Services Inc., an Atlanta-based economic development consulting firm.

As part of the first of four phases in the strategy, the survey was released in mid-September to gather public opinion and comment. Bonnot said they've already passed their initial goal of 1,000 responses and hope to have many more.

"Our hopes in the survey is to get varying opinions about Jefferson City and the assets that we have and the challenges that we have in Jefferson City, and just get as many people to take that survey so we can have varying perspectives," Bonnot said.

The survey shouldn't take more than five to 10 minutes to complete, according to the chamber.

The survey starts with some basic information like employment status, schooling, and family and demographic information. The survey is anonymous.

Then the survey moves on to rankings of quality of place of Jefferson City, such as if it's attractive to young professionals, families with children and retirement. Also considered are whether the survey respondent plans to continue living in Jefferson City, or would retire here or raise children here.

The next section is short answer, letting respondents type their own responses to questions like "What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing Jefferson City as it seeks to grow quality jobs that elevate standards of living for its residents?" and "What is the most important thing that needs to happen to improve Jefferson City as a place to live, work and do business?"

The data and responses from the survey will go to Market Street Services to be compiled. The strategy formed a steering committee of 23 area leaders to work on the project, and at their next meeting Nov. 6, Market Street will present the results of the survey to the steering committee.

They will also hear the results of interviews Market Street Services did with 10 key area leaders and five community focus groups.

Bonnot said the ultimate goal of the strategy is to come up with a plan for what the community needs to improve in the future.

If you look at our community right now, our population is stagnant; and if a community it not growing, then that means we're going backwards," Bonnot said. "I would say most people in our community do not want us to go backwards."

The survey isn't only for Jefferson City residents. Former residents, those who live near the city or work in the city, and even people who don't live or work here are invited to take it to provide a variety of responses.

"We want people in Jefferson City to have a voice in (the strategy), and that's the best way to be able to do that," Bonnot said.

The survey can be found at jcmostrategy.com under "Survey." It closes at 5 p.m. Friday.

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