The design consultants for the Markham Street redevelopment project have finalized the polling results from the project’s first public meeting last week.
Brad Lonberger, vice president of Gateway Planning, said the poll was a way to validate some of the things the company has been hearing and make sure they are on the right path.
The results reveal how the people who participated in the poll feel about the development project and some demographics of those people.
Jeremy Nelson, vice president Gateway Planning said although this is not a scientific poll that pretends to represent the views of the entire community, it is a useful snapshot of the potential vision for the study area, as expressed by those individual community members that attended the public workshop.
The poll consisted of 15 multiple choice questions and one true or false question.
The true or false question asked if appropriate redesign and redevelopment of Markham Street is essential for a meaningful connection between Hendrix College, Hendrix Village and downtown. The results were split 78 percent true and 22 percent false.
Longerer encouraged the people who voted false to write on the comment cards what other connections they utilize, and why they think the redevelopment of Markham is not essential for a meaningful connection.
60 percent of those polled have the opinion that the future of the Markham Street area is very important to the future of Conway with another 25 percent who think it is somewhat important.
The majority of the people who attended the meeting and participated in the public poll were over the age of 35, either a couple with or without children and live and/or work in Conway.
It was split 42 percent of those who lived within 1 mile of the Markham Street area and 40 percent who lived further than 1 mile. Another 14 percent lived in a city or town elsewhere in the state.
About half of those polled said their primary reason for living in Conway was "close to family or grew up here."
When asked, "What is Conway primarily a community for," 75 percent selected the option that included all answers, families with children, seniors/empty nesters and single professionals and students.
When asked, "When considering new development, my highest priority for my neighborhood is" 64 percent again chose the answer that included all options consisting of neighborhood amenities, walkability and neighborhood character/design.
But when asked, "When considering new development, my highest community-wide priority is," answers varied with 31 percent choosing a priority of more housing types and creating reasonably-priced housing and 22 percent choosing to select other and write a concern on a comment card.
Although opinions on housing types varies with townhouse biding the least poplar with eight percent of the vote, three to four story stacked apartments with 16 percent and cottage homes with 22 percent. 32 percent voted for all of the above, and 22 percent voted for none of the above.
The other options for this question included improving the city’s tax base with almost 4 percent, reducing traffic congestion with 24 percent and encouraging high-quality architecture and building materials with 18 percent.
Nearly half of the people polled think it is a combination of walkability/safety, access/traffic patterns and the Conway Scrap Metal that are the greatest deterrent to development on Markham Street.
Since the clean up of Conway Scrap Metal is being taken care of by the City of Conway, 46 percent of people think future improvements should focus on design and form of buildings.
Nearly half of people polled said their priority for the project consisted of three goals connecting surrounding neighborhoods, creating more opportunities for housing in the downtown area and creating an opportunity for a diversity of uses.
Another 26 percent voted for creating an opportunity for a diversity of uses. The group further expressed a desire for a multitude of uses by voting 82 percent of appropriate uses as a mix of some or all options including office/other service commercial, retail, residential and hospitality/entertainment.
75 percent said they see the Markham Street area supporting a mixed population of families with children, students and aging in-place or empty nesters.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)