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Windshield Surveys - Panora and Bayard

Panora, in contrast to Bayard is indeed a growing community. The nearby Lake Panorama gives this small town an uncommon advantage in several ways. The business brought in by the recreational opportunities of the lake supports stores that cater to tourism such as gift shops, knick knack stores (candle outlet), and gas stations (Casey’s). An underlying benefit of this extra volume of business is that larger stores, such as grocery stores (Jubilee) can be supported. The area around the lake was strictly residential and, as many recreational sites, was aimed to attract a fairly wealthy crowd with it’s unique architecture and golf courses. This concentration of people with money and no place to spend it except Panora is an obvious economic boost for the town. Because of the nearby recreational opportunities the real estate values in the town most likely has grown. There were many realty and insurance agencies in town. Although most of the housing was older it seemed quite well kept. Other living options, however, were quite sparse; no apartments or subsidized housing was present. Unlike Bayard, Panora’s business sector, or main street business area is filled with service providers instead of goods providers. The grocery and needs of the community are served by larger chain stores and strip malls nearer to the edge of town. This may mean a longer trip to resources for some. Thus, the growth of a small town has it’s pro’s and cons. The services are better provided but may be further away.

Bayard at first glance may seem a dying community, and perhaps an undesirable place to live. However, the opposite may be true. Bayard provides a centrally located business area with a post office, hair salon, dentist, library, dance hall, tavern, bank, and market. This area is within reach of all the town. Subsidized housing (FMHA) is available at three places in Bayard and a nursing is also available. Among the towns other fine points are it’s new fire and ambulance station, it’s parks, a gazebo downtown, and a picnic area on the north side. Most homes in the community are older with very little new construction. In this way it seems an aging community, but one with a strong infrastructure of devoted citizens.

A windshield survey can speak to many questions about a community. One can get a feel for economic health by looking for places to earn and spend money. Housing conditions can often be hinted by the age and condition of the homes. Any one interested in elderly housing issues can look for accessible sidewalks, distances to shopping areas, housing alternatives, and recreational opportunities.

However, a windshield survey certainly has its limitations. It provides only a brief overview of a town. One cannot get a feel for the way people in the community live and feel without visiting and talking with some residents. A better understanding would also be gained by visiting the businesses to see if they are adequate.

  1. Are the housing alternatives ample?
  2. Are the services provided in the community ample?
  3. Are there enough social opportunities?
  4. Are goods and service providers within reach and ample?
  5. Are prices fair with little competition present?
  6. Is the benefit of outside tourism and patronage felt in the community?

CONSIDER ALSO THE LIMITATIONS OF THE WINDSHIELD SURVEY RELATIVE TO THE "RESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVES." CAN WE GLEAN, WHAT CAN WE GLEAN FROM THE WINDSHIELD SURVEY ABOUT HOW PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT THE COMMUNITY, OR THEIR HOUSING?

Bayard

Neighborhoods: Bayard has a lot of older housing stock, with a variety of home types, although the lack of new homes constructed was apparent. We also noticed mailboxes, cars in the streets, mostly older single family dwellings, a few multiple dwellings and townhouses and two mobile homes. Judging the homes, we concluded that the homes were mostly older and modest. Also, it was noted that the distance to shopping was short, as well as facilities in the community. Found in Bayard were the following: life stage facilities, FMHA housing, a brick motel, and Mid-Iowa housing.

The educational, cultural, and religious aspect of Bayard were pretty sparse. However, we noted a middle school, a library, a community center and Catholic churches.

Bayard’s downtown and retail area is located in one main area, on the main street. The funeral home has a ramp for easy access, as do all of the curbs in Bayard are allowable for easy wheelchair access. There is a bank, market, hardware store, dance hall, law office, insurance agent, Laundromat, and a post office. Also, the out skirts of town had a Sinclair station and grain elevator.

For a small town, Bayard has a reasonable amount of municipal services. They have a fire station and ambulance, a water tower (small in size). Also, for recreation, there is a picnic area on the edge of town, and a gazebo in downtown.

Panora

Neighborhoods: Panora was an interesting town to drive through. We noticed two big distinctions in the housing stock available. In town, the homes were mostly older, while a mass of new development is being constructed around Lake Panorama. No cars were seen in the street, while a confederate flag was spied on a main street home.

Overall, the housing condition was good. In town we noticed single family homes, some multiple units, a few mobile homes and manufactured homes. Around the lake, we found a host of unconventional styles. We noticed ‘A’ frames, dome tops, condos and a wide variety of styles of homes. Also noted were the boats and recreational equipment which hint to a younger population residing in the lake area.

As far as educational, cultural, and religious aspects are concerned, not much was noticed here. All that was noted was a veterans auditorium, and a few churches of different denominations. Panora’s downtown and retail sector is a growing area. Four insurance companies were found, an auto repair store, nursery, gift shops, realty companies, even a candle outlet store was seen. They have a Jubilee grocery store, a stripmall and a Casey’s convenience store. They have a fire station, telephone co-op, two cemeteries and lots of recreational places, predominately around the lakeside. Parks, picnic areas, playgrounds were all noted.

THIS HAS ALL THE ELEMENTS THAT ONE WOULD EXPECT TO REPORT FROM A WINDSHIELD SURVEY; IT IS WELL STATED. HOWEVER, THE ORGANIZATION IS VERY POOR. YOU SHOULD BEGIN WITH AN INTRO THAT SPEAKS TO WHAT WAS DONE IN THIS SECTION, ABOUT THE WINDSHIELD SURVEY. THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE THE PARAGRAPHS ABOUT EACH TOWN, SEPARATELY. AFTER REPORTING ON EACH COMMUNITY, THEN A COMPARISON MIGHT BE IN ORDER. FOR READABILITY, YOU SHOULD SET THE CONTEXT WITH BOTH THE "BIG" PICTURE -- THE WINDSHIELD SURVEY AND WHAT IT YIELDS AND DOESN’T YIELD, THEN MOVE TO THE "SPECIFIC" DESCRIPTION OF EACH TOWN.

THROUGHOUT, BE AWARE, OF REPORTING ITEMS THAT CAN’T BE GLEANED FROM A WINDSHIELD SURVEY. FOR EXAMPLE..."IN THIS WAY IT (BAYARD) SEEMS LIKE AN AGING COMMUNITY, BUT ONE WITH A STRONG INFRASTRUCTURE OF DEVOTED CITIZENS. IF YOU SEE PARKS, GAZEBOS, AND A WELL-KEPT DOWNTOWN, YOU MIGHT SAY "THERE APPEARS TO BE A COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY, DEDICATED CITIZENS BECAUSE THERE IS..."


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Contact: Mary Yearns
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