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Survey says....

Greater Hot Springs Chamber, Developer Seek Responses From New Residents; Results Could Aid Businesses

Surveys are getting plenty of play during this political season. New residents of Hot Springs and Garland County, though, are being polled for more than just their favorite candidates.

Miller Research Group Inc. of Little Rock is more than halfway through a survey of new residents for the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Westrend Homes, a California developing firm.

The need for a survey to help both Westrend and the Hot Springs chamber may benefit area businesses, too.

Westrend, based at Lake Forest, Calif., is developing an area on Lake Hamilton called Stonegate Shores.

Westrend developers wanted to expand their database concerning resident housing and preferences. But they found that necessary information was unavailable.

Hot Springs chamber officials, likewise, were interested in measuring the needs of newcomers to Garland County.

"We said, 'That's exactly the information we needed to know,'" Westrend developer Gordon Youde says. "They suggested we participate as a sponsor of the survey."

Youde says statistics show approximately 4,000-6,000 new residents in the area. Miller Research has planned to contact 700, which should reveal results with 95 percent accuracy, according to research experts.

The chamber hopes to have the results from researcher David Miller by Nov. 1. Members of the Hot Springs chamber may obtain the results for a nominal fee to help defray the cost of the survey.

"Those who take the time to read it will reap a reward," Youde says. "It will show shopping habits, age trends, preference in housing, shopping, recreation. It will help many people know a lot to do business in Hot Springs and Garland County."

Westrend also figures to benefit as it seeks to expand its development.

"It will help us not only with our existing projects but with other market opportunities," Youde says. "And, we think there are many."

The survey features 48 questions ranging from preferences in home building to shopping habits to reasons for moving to Garland County.

"Several of us worked on the questions," says Kay Patterson retirement relocation coordinator. "There are some housing questions, some features you look for in a home, then some questions that will help us with service to the newcomers in the area.

"It will help ... to let us know how involved they have become since moving here. Are they registered to vote? Have they joined civic groups? That sort of thing."

The purchasing questions are "definitely important for any businesses in town. And the housing trends, that's not only going to be beneficial to Gordon but others that use the survey," Patterson says.

Youde says, "In those 48 questions there is a wealth of information."

Stonegate Shores is a private lake community, off U.S. 70, on a point extending on the lake.

"It's the high end of the market for Garland County," Youde says. "It's selling predominantly to local professionals. It's not restricted or targeted toward retirees.

"We're down to the last little pieces of land left on the lake."

Youde points out that Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine "are about the only lakes we can find in a 500-mile radius that you can own your own home and have your boat in your back yard. Lake Hamilton is a scarce resource."

Youde says the survey should serve "as a measuring stick as well as a looking glass into the future."
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Title Annotation:Across Arkansas; Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Westrend Homes conduct homeowner survey
Author:Harris, Jim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 12, 1992
Previous Article:A grave business.
Next Article:Gearing up the company.

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