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Survey says: Hansville is peaceful and clean

HANSVILLE — While community activists often spend time working on projects that have immediate results, a group of people has spent the past year organizing a project that could cater to the area’s needs down the road, long after today’s activists are gone.

The result of the work of 30 volunteers is the Hansville Futures Project, which aims to create a vision for the area based on various concepts of community living.

Spearheaded by Hansville Community Center past president Steve Bauer and resident Ed Kleckner, the group has been working to create a community profile as well as a document showing what current residents value in the area.

“Even though the community isn’t incorporated, there is a strong sense of community identity,” Kleckner said. “It was thought since things often change — there is always question of the future of the parks in the area, various land use issues, the nature of our community — (residents) thought it was very valuable for the area and the county (to do such a project).”

Last December, the group sent out a 21-question survey to all 2,600 property owners in the greater Hansville area, from Eglon and Little Boston roads north, asking what they valued about living or owning property in the area.

Of the 386 surveys returned, the majority, 63 percent, noted that the rural, natural and beautiful setting is the most important thing that makes the area a special place to live, while 16 percent valued the sense of community. These two ideas were often repeated in responses to other survey questions.

Residents were asked to select the seven most important qualities of life from a list of 21 choices. The top choices included peace and tranquility, a protected clean and natural environment for future generations, the rural character of the area, minimal traffic congestion, personal safety, scenic views and a genuine feeling of community among residents. These were also reoccurring themes in answers to other questions in the survey.

Shortcomings that residents feel the community could face are inadequate growth management, lack of neighborhood businesses and speeding or unsafe traffic.

As for what should be preserved or improved for the future, residents said growth should be controlled, and the small town environment and the natural surroundings should be preserved.

Committee members also compared their results to the data from a survey of the community taken in 1976. The comparison showed there were similarities in desires for the community, including an appreciation of the rural environment, concerns about growth, a connection with wildlife and natural environment and access to the water.

While the values document was being created, residents also worked on the community profile. This document includes data from various sources on past and existing trends in Hansville, including arts and culture, demographics, economy, education,  environmental quality, government, housing, human services, land use,  parks and recreation, public safety, telecommunication, transportation  and utilities.

The information is expected to show how things were 10 years ago, what they are now and what is likely to happen in the future, Kleckner said.

The community profile is expected to be completed by the end of September, in time for the first meeting of the Hansville Future’s Project planning committee. The committee will take both documents in their final draft forms and study to get an overall idea of where Hansville is headed and create a vision and action plan. Residents could use the document as a planning tool if they chose to do so at Hansville grows, Kleckner said.

This type of approach in gathering data isn’t new to the area, Kleckner explained. In the early 1990s, a group of citizens who wanted to create a document showing the existing and potential green spaces in the area went through a similar process.

“Those documents were used for very successful fund-raising to acquire the green space we do have,” Kleckner said, which includes the Hansville Greenways and Wildlife Corridor.

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