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2023 Membership Survey Summary

We asked the HDRA members to complete a survey regarding the organization and its purpose.  We had an amazing response, with almost 50% of our membership completing the survey.  The completed surveys provided great input as we plan HDRA's goals and objectives.   


HDRA’s purpose remains unchanged; 81% of respondents reported they would not revise our mission statement. One overwhelming theme that did emerge was broadening our preservation efforts. In response, we are seeking additional approaches to educate, advocate and provide increased resources to support the preservation of historic homes in the district and continue to build community, with intention.

"The current Purpose of HDRA in the by-laws is: “The purpose of the Association (HDRA) is a) to build a close neighborhood community environment; b) to protect the historic integrity of the New Bern Downtown Historic District; c) to promote the enforcement and implementation of ordinances that impact property values in the District.”


Member advocacy remains an important component of our mission – 71% of members said “yes” to providing recommendations and comments to political bodies and city/county policy groups on behalf of our residents. Advocacy may further be accomplished as HDRA examines all available resources to educate its membership, including partnering with the Preservation Foundation, holding workshops, hosting panel discussions (local historians, contractors) and publishing a Renovator’s Corner in HDRA Newsletter.  In addition, encouraging HDRA members to apply and volunteer on municipal boards-Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), Community Development Advisory Committee, Planning and Zoning, and the Demolition by Neglect Committee- offer additional ways to gain perspective.


Informing the Membership

Receiving information on Historic Property Ownership, Preservation and Appearance (29%), as well as City Activities that impact the Historic District (25 %) were of significance.  A myriad of other information HDRA members wished to receive are illustrated in the graphic, including the HDRA budget (16%), Marketplace for Goods and Services (14%) and Resiliency (12%).



Finding members to volunteer and sustain HDRA committees ensures we continue to advance our mission. The survey revealed general membership interests: Appearance/Preservation (24%), Community and Government Outreach (24%), Social (22%), Resident Membership (18 %), Business Friends (6%) and Communications (6%).   Based on this data provided by our members, the Board of Directors plans to actively extend the opportunity to serve on these committees.



Social activities and member gatherings continue to be a favorite benefit of the HDRA membership - 85% of respondents would like to see more planned social events! Suggestions from the survey included a variety of great ideas including family friendly and more community focused events:

  • Block party

  • Easter egg Hunt

  • Ice Cream Social

  • Progressive Happy Hour

  • Picnic at Union Point/Lawson Creek Parks

  • Football Games at ECU

  • Community Wide Food Donation Drive (RCS)

  • Working jointly with community partners/organizations (St. Cyprians, Questers)

  • Community Wide Yard Sale

  • Helping Hands Program (for neighbors who may be in need)

  • Colonial Capitol Adoption Event


In addition to the larger, traditional gatherings, the survey revealed a desire for establishing smaller, more intimate subgroups to better engage and build neighborhood unity: Book Club/Writing Group, Garden Club, Kayaking/Boating, Whiskey Tasting, Bridge Club, Dance and Crafting.

Shop Local

In an effort to be more collaborative with our local business community, we asked HDRA members if they had specific recommendations for program development to help to support “Shop Local” initiatives - 30% of respondents shared the following ideas:

  • HDRA Lunch/Learn at local businesses

  • Discount for residents on weekdays (mid-week?)

  • Welcome group for new residents - include recommendations for local businesses (coupons)

  • Host an event at a local business, HDRA night out


Local Outreach Funding

While 69% of respondents did not believe that HDRA membership dues should be used to support community outreach and local non-profits, 31% felt it would be appropriate. In addition, 50% of respondents were willing to learn about individual donation opportunities to local non-profits, either through monetary donations and/or volunteering.  As noted earlier, there are also opportunities to participate in larger social events focusing on community outreach.


Survey Question: Would you be interested in HDRA engaging more in advocacy - providing recommendations and comments to the political bodies and city/county policy groups on behalf of residents in the Downtown Historic District (Board of Aldermen, City Sta , Swiss Bear, Tryon Palace, etc.)?


Survey Question: Please indicate which of the following committees you would be interested to participate in.


Survey Question: Would you add or subtract from this Purpose?

Survey Question: Would you like to see more of these types of events?


Survey Question: Do you believe HDRA membership dues should be used to support community outreach through monetary donations to local non-profit Organizations?

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