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May 26, 2000

A survey that helped lay the groundwork for the "Project Perry" gathering last month provides interesting information for all of us to ponder. The survey was designed to show prospective builders, developers and others that a real market for their services exists in Perry. More than 400 of those builders, etc., came here in April to hear details.

In a previous column, we looked at some of the types of housing preferred by respondents to the survey. Today we continue the breakdown with notes about other points checked by adults and school age young people who took part.

Ninety-eight of the adults who responded said they were interested in downtown apartment living. To the best of my knowledge, such quarters are virtually nonexistent now, but almost 100 expressed interest. As for space preferences, 21 wanted 750 to 1,000 sq. ft.; 21 wanted 1,001 to 1,500 sq. ft.; 33 would like 1,501 to 2,000 sq. ft.; and seven would like 2,001 to 2,500 sq. ft. Purchase price ranges listed were up to $50,000, 53; $50,000 to $70,000, 27; and 16 said they would prefer to rent.

Retirement Living: 124 said they are interested in this type of facility; 201 said not at this time, but perhaps within the next five years. Desired options named were assisted living, 261; full care living, 53; and both, 11. Lodging was another line explored, and 512 said they are in need of such temporary quarters. 388 said they need lodging about once per month and 66 said they need it one to four times per month. Average lengths of stay indicated were one night, 68; two to four nights, 407; and five to seven nights, 47. The Charles Machine Works, Inc. alone said it would need 500-700 room nights per year. Oklahoma Department of Transportation surveys have shown that about 15,000 cars per day drive past Perry on highway I-35 at the west edge of the city. The hope is that we can lure more of them to stop here to spend the night.

Entertainment facilities are lacking in Perry, according to respondents. Adults and students were surveyed separately and they came up with these needs: Movie theater, 982 adults, 275 students, total 1,257. Miniature golf, 146 adults, 19 students, total 165. Skating rink, 126 adults, 28 students, total 154. Arcade, 94 adults, 41 students, total 135. Mall, 80 adults, 83 students, total 163. New restaurant choices also varied, as these figures show: Steak house, 684 adults, 46 students; Arby's, 178 adults, 155 students; Italian cuisine chain, 166 adults, 102 students; Long John Silver, 237 adults, 77 students. Family dining, 160 adults, zero students.

Here are the retail clothing choices, by category. Clothing, 1,452 adults, 286 students; brand name (Buckle, Old Navy, Maurice's),156 adults, 177 students; youth/teen clothing, 160 adults, 109 students. Men's clothing, 273 adults, zero students; women's clothing, 188 adults, zero students; and shoes, 91 adults, 46 students. Retail businesses requested were: Expanded grocery, 158 adults, zero students. Wal-Mart Supercenter, 221 adults, 35 students. Home improvement store, 190 adults, zero students. Music store (Hastings, for example), zero adults, 78 students. Department store, 142 adults, 35 students.

The need for these "Other Services" also was listed: Taxi, 38 adults, four students; youth center, 98 adults, 73 students; and complaints about the lack of 24-hour services, 45 adults, zero students. We'll have more about this survey when the Northwest Corner returns.