The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership is surveying residents and businesses in South Montgomery County to determine what affects economic development has on the community and how the relationship between businesses and the community can improve.
“We're trying to address the optimal [relationship] between business development and community development,” said EDP CEO Gil Staley. “How do those businesses which come here affect the community?”
Woodlands resident and Stanford University student Cassandra Calderon is performing the survey as part of a fellowship in urban studies. Calderon, an economics major at Stanford, said there are separate surveys for residents and businesses in the area, and she anticipates receiving about 50 completed surveys back from businesses and 30 from residents by the Aug. 9 deadline.
Calderon said the survey will help determine what the relationship is like between incoming businesses and the community, and for those residents who are displeased with economic development, the survey results will help form an action plan to address those concerns. For example, Calderon said one resident surveyed suggested businesses donate old computers and devices to nonprofits in the community.
“Hopefully the residents say that business development is positive,” Calderon said.
Calderon said the final report from the surveys should be completed by the end of August. The report can be used not only by the EDP's investors, but will also be shared with The Woodlands Township, Montgomery County and other government leaders, Staley said.
Economic development can have a positive impact on communities through sales and property tax revenue to the community's government, Staley said, but the EDP wants to ensure economic development has a positive effect on The Woodlands residents overall.
“We want to know that the development we have now, is it making the congestion worse?,” he said. “Are we seeing too much development at one time before infrastructure catches up.”
Staley said surveys have been sent out to apartments, libraries, YMCAs, the Village Association board presidents and to the 2,200 members of the South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber of Commerce. He encouraged residents and businesses to complete the survey if they have concerns by the Aug. 9 deadline.
“If we don't get a large response rate, it tells me that they're satisfied with what's going on,” he said.