Survey places Hebron closer to leadership status

Community surveys were distributed to area residents and employees with a Dec. 30 deadline as the City of Hebron, the Hebron Chamber of Commerce, Thayer County Economic Development and Nebraska Public Power District work together to establish Hebron as a leadership community.
A Leadership Certified Community is sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Participating muncipalities work on strategic planning to enhance their communities and provide a strong foundation for the future.
The City of Hebron had received 462 completed surveys by Dec. 22. A total of 800 surveys were mailed. Tietjen set a goal to receive 600 of them back.  
City Administrator Chris Fangmeier and Chamber of Commerce Director Jana Tietjen worked from a template to develop the survey. They then submitted it to NPPD, which will analyze the data for free.
“Sometimes, these analyses can cost several thousand dollars,” Tietjen said.
Questions in the survey covered basic demographics, why people live in Hebron, the city’s current state compared to five years ago and which local goods and services people typically use.
It also covered goods and services used outside of Hebron, suggestions on where the city should focus its planning and resources and hourly wages.
Tietjen said she communicated with local businesses on the survey and organizations, such as Blue Valley Community Action and the senior center.
“We want results from young to old, so we were trying to get as many as possible,” she said. “It’s not just for the people who live here, but also for those who work here.”
The surveys were also distributed to the county offices, and the fire department.
“The fire department did a great job when asked by the mayor,” Tietjen noted.
“If it’s downtown revitalization and grants to look at, we just want to perform a strategic plan for the city,” she said.
She hopes the information is useful to businesses.
“As we look toward new business opportunities or what people benefit from in Hebron, that will be interesting as we move forward,” she added.
The idea was never to distribute a survey without following up on responses, she said.
“We want to see what’s important to community members and do something beneficial for the community,” Tietjen explained.
There are comment sections on the survey.
“The most important part are the comments because that’s where we learn,” Tietjen said.
In addition to the survey, the city is launching a new website, which will spotlight area organizations and feature county news.
To become a Leadership Certified Community, Hebron must satisfy community collaboration (a strong relationship with organizations and a strong volunteer-base); demonstrate community participation and engagement with strategic planning; demonstrate commitment to community planning efforts, like a comprehensive plan, building and housing codes and nuisance ordinances; have a business retention and expansion program; established website; and listings of business and entrepreneurial assistance programs, and available financing and incentive programs.
All applicants for the program are evaluated on community planning and zoning and business and technology, along with other factors.
Leadership Certified Communities are re-certified every five years with annual reviews.  
Tietjen said the LCC program will open Hebron up to new opportunities to boost its visibility and future planning.

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