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Respondents in survey want focus on youth, growth
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MONROE - In a recent survey sent out to residents of Monroe by the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, a majority of respondents cited the development of spaces for millennials and highlighting career opportunities available within the city as top priorities.

The survey was open from Oct. 19 to Nov. 13 and was conducted with the help of the city of Monroe, the Green County Development Corporation and the UW Extension for the Monroe Comprehensive Plan Update.

With 572 respondents, the number of people who not only received the survey but took time to answer questions outpaced the usual 15 percent of attention public surveys generally receive. Savannah Ernzen, associate planner for the SWWRPC, said they have estimated roughly 35 to 40 percent responded to the questions sent out.

The survey is a step in a process which has been unfolding since June. SWWRPC representatives have been working within the community to gain focus on the areas citizens think need the most attention. They have organized people and ideas in a way to motivate residents of Monroe to develop the community they would like to see.

Inquiries were made into the areas that Monroe residents wanted to see more developed, what they preferred was not given as much attention, and what was managing fine under its current care. Categories included transportation, housing, culture, community resources, land use, utilities and energy management.

Nearly 73 percent of the respondents said they wanted to see more development of "a community that attracts young professionals." Comments included "embracing diversity" as a necessity in order to have a young population take interest in Monroe.

In economic development, 64 percent of respondents to the survey said they wished people within the city could create more events for students to learn about career and job opportunities within the region. Much of the overall focus was centered within this category. Resources for businesses to increase employee health and wellness and resources to assist entrepreneurs were also priorities for respondents.

Employee health and wellness resources was a subject 59 percent of survey respondents said they wanted to see more investment in, and entrepreneurial sources was marked by 56 percent of those who took it.

Comments regarding economic development and agriculture included the hope that the city could provide more incentives for small businesses and support smaller farms while keeping large dairy facilities out of the area.

In land use, 57 percent of respondents said they wanted to see a space developed as a community gathering place near the Square.

Other items they wanted to see more investment in were development on the outskirts of the city and near the Square, landscaping in places of visibility, such as the entrances to Monroe itself, and roadways. A total of 40 percent said they wished to see more flexibility with zoning ordinances.