Article by: Annie Leibel
CEDA team member, Annie Leibel, who serves the City of Winnebago, MN, recently worked with Winnebago’s EDA to gather community input to help shape their future goals.
First, Leibel compiled a series of questions to survey the business community. The questions focused on workforce availability, business climate, and future plans. To increase responses, Leibel personally visited each business to distribute the survey. By personally distributing the surveys, Leibel was able to form a stronger relationship with the businesses and get a 37% response rate. The survey responses indicated several businesses were interested in expanding both their physical location and number of employees. These surveys will help guide Leibel and the EDA over the next year.
Once the business survey was complete, Leibel created a community survey to gather input from residents. The survey was sent via mail, along with the City’s first community newsletter to each residential address in Winnebago. The survey included questions about quality of life, city communication, and potential new offerings. The survey was then promoted on the City’s Social Media, and additional paper copies were available at City Hall. Both the newsletter and the survey were met with positive results. Residents were happy to be able to share their input, and appreciated the newsletter with important City information. Overall, residents rated their quality of life as good to excellent. The City also learned that many residents prefer to receive updates via a newsletter, as opposed to social media. Beginning in 2020, the City is planning to send out a newsletter at least twice per year to share current events, safety reminders, and important notices with residents.
Leibel will use the feedback from the business survey and community survey to guide the Winnebago EDA’s work in the future. The surveys have already led to stronger relationships with business owners, and residents have renewed optimism in the work of the EDA.