MOREAU — Moreau residents want public infrastructure and they want more businesses in town, they said in a survey of their views on economic development.
Residents were surveyed over the last two months by the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. The partnership is creating a free economic development plan for the town.
Partnership President Marty Vanags came to Tuesday’s Moreau Town Board meeting to go through all of the results of the anonymous survey.
He said he was particularly pleased that 420 people filled out the survey.
“That’s a good number of a town of this size,” he said.
Overall, the survey showed strong support for the upcoming Route 9 sewer project, Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said.
Residents said their top priority is to improve public infrastructure, followed by attracting businesses to town.
“I think it affirms we as a board are on the right track,” Kusnierz said. “The answers in the survey all hinge on sewer. Sewer will be the game-changer for our community.”
They also want more retail in town, and they want to keep existing companies, too, they said in the survey. Those goals might not be easily achieved with the sewer project. Retail is often the last piece of an economic development plan because it requires significant foot traffic. And some small businesses along Route 9 might sell their land rather than pay the sewer fees once sewer is installed.
But in general, Vanags agreed that sewer will bring in development.
“Once you have that in, I think you’ll see more development occur,” he said.
The trick will be directing that development in the ways most desired by the community.
Vanags is working on that part of the plan now. He plans to hold a community workshop and then put together a plan that looks at trends. It will lay out possible scenarios and how to accomplish them.
“They you’ll apply resources in an effort to reach that,” he said.
Residents said in the survey that they did not think helping entrepreneurs start up businesses or improving business owners’ access to capital should be priorities.
They also indicated that they are happy with the community’s access to health care and education.
What they want, they said clearly, is more established businesses to come to town. Half the respondents said the town cannot be described as a community that attracts businesses, and they also said the community is not seen as a business destination.
They said it’s mainly a bedroom community.
“There’s a sense that people feel this is a good place to live, get a job. There’s a good standard of living,” Vanags said of the results.