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Gainesville looking for downtown feedback

Mar. 29—The Gainesville Economic Development Corporation is looking for feedback from downtown building owners, business owners and workers.

The GEDC is working with the Texas Downtown Association to do an assessment of downtown and see how downtown can improve. This is starting with an online survey that all downtown owners and employees are encouraged to take.

"They have staff and bring in usually three experts, people who have a wealth of knowledge about downtowns," said William Myers, executive director for the GEDC. "They come in to the community and meet with local stakeholders, local government, city staff or elected officials, to name a few ... They'll visit with different business owners ... and then they take all of that information, including this online survey that's being done, and complete a report that they turn over to the community toward the end of May."

The current online survey is available to all downtown stakeholders and is 10 questions about the downtown culture.

Specific results are not available to the GEDC; instead, answers are sent to the Texas Downtown Association to incorporate into their report.

"You work downtown, you eat downtown, you visit downtown ... you're a stakeholder," said Myers. "Some [questions] are for businesses, some are for property owners, and then some are just stakeholders in general ... How many employees do you have? What are your hours of operation? What does downtown need? Questions like that."

This information will be utilized in the near future as the city prepares to develop a new comprehensive plan.

"The community is prepping for a comprehensive plan, a downtown master plan and a parks master plan," said Myers. "We're hoping that this assessment gets people, stakeholders, talking to each other, businesses, property owners, elected officials, city staff and just creates a dialogue."

This also gives the Texas Downtown Association experts a way to provide a new outside perspective.

"They can provide their thoughts on what Gainesville could look at, what opportunities they may see as an outsider," said Myers. "They pull the opportunities and the ideas that the locals give them as feedback while they're here ... and bundle it into a nice summary report ... Then we'll have that as one tool that we use going forward into this master planning process."

The survey is available at gainesvilletxedc.com with a link to the survey appearing as soon as you open the site, or you can go to the survey directly at surveymonkey.com/r/FQ9529Q.

The city council will be moving forward with the comprehensive planning process at its next meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at city hall at 200 S. Rusk St.