Community survey deadline extended

Two community development organizations are surveying residents about what they'd like to see in Allen County. The deadline was extended to Sept. 22.



September 17, 2021 - 4:21 PM

Developing plans for the old Waugh-Yokum & Friskel Funeral Home building is one goal of a new local housing and economic development initiative. Register file photo

Know what your town needs? Have thoughts about what’s vital to creating prosperity in your neighborhood? Two community-development organizations would love to hear you out.

A digital survey offers residents a chance to answer those questions and more, with the goal of gathering public input on what would create a better Allen County. The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Residents can complete the survey by visiting

The survey is part of a joint effort between Atlas Community Studios, a small company based in Des Moines, Iowa that supports strategic planning and rural development, and Thrive Allen County

The two organizations have partnered to learn more about the opportunities and challenges facing Allen County as they relate to housing, economic development, and building revitalization.

Thrive and Atlas Community Studios are participants in the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development. The effort, which provided $1 million in cooperative agreements across the country last year, seeks to improve the social, cultural, and economic structure of rural communities.

A key part of that process is seeking public input about what Allen County residents would like to see completed or done differently, as well as identifying the challenges and obstacles that must be overcome. 

There is considerable urgency behind the effort. The 2020 Census shows Iola lost 5.4% of its population over the last decade. Allen County declined at a bit more accelerated rate, shedding 6.3% of its population. Iola’s total number of residents now stands at 5,396, while the county’s population is 12,526.

Atlas Community Studios and Thrive will gather public input the rest of this year, using the survey, focus groups and interviews to compile data and develop a Placemaking Action Plan for Allen County. Atlas and Thrive hope to present the Placemaking Action Plan to the public early next year. A road map of sorts, the plan will contain goals identified by the community and how to secure the resources necessary to achieve them.

McClure Engineering Company, also based in Des Moines and another technical assistance provider for the grant along with Atlas Community Studios, will support the effort. The goal is to provide Allen County with the tools, resources and partners necessary to achieve its goals. 

It all depends on residents sharing their perspectives, hopes and dreams. Every voice counts!