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Survey asks about downtown Strasburg

By Alex Bridges

Strasburg put out a new survey this week to find out what residents and visitors want to see in its downtown.

The short survey asks seven questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Those interesting in giving input to the town can take the online survey by clicking on the link provided on Strasburg's website or by going to www.surveymonkey.com/s/StrasburgDowntownSurvey and completing the questionnaire. The survey will run through July 15.

Economic Development and Planning Manager Kimberly Murray said Wednesday the town put out the survey to hear from residents and visitors.

"We're trying to reach out to everybody that comes to Strasburg and we're asking them questions about Strasburg," Murray said. "Why do you come here? How often? What are the reasons? What other things would you like to see happen in our community?"

The survey asks about grocery shopping habits -- if participants go to the Food Lion on U.S. 11 in town or drive elsewhere to meet these needs. More generally, the survey questions draw input on various needs that Murray said the town may use to target specific stores.

"We've heard a lot of feedback from folks about wanting to have another grocery store option in the community," Murray said.

The survey also asks participants questions about interest in public space downtown for events. Participants are asked how often they attend events held downtown. Murray pointed out the benefit of Hometown Strasburg's pocket park downtown that hosts events during the year. Would the town also want a larger park for bigger events? Murray said survey participants may give their input on this idea.

"All of this will give us qualitative information about how our community is feeling about different things," Murray said.

Strasburg hasn't done a survey of this detail but the information provided should help the town plan for future activities and projects, Murray added.

Using the grant money, the town has hired Community Planning Partners Inc, of Richmond, to help Strasburg with the revitalization work and to craft an economic restructuring plan. The consultant began working last year with the downtown planning group made up of Strasburg officials, residents, business owners and other stakeholders. The planning group meets monthly.

Strasburg Mayor Tim Taylor serves on the committee and noted its diverse makeup benefits the overall revitalization effort. Aside from the input Taylor said he expects to see from the survey, the mayor pointed out that the town continues to receive positive feedback on the Downtown Streetscape project underway.

"We've heard from citizens saying 'hey, you know we want to try to improve our downtown,' so we're trying to move forward as much as possible," Taylor said, lauding the work by Murray and other town staff members. "We're getting there. It's nice with that Downtown Streetscape -- we're finally starting to see things starting to happen."

Town officials also are in the process of scheduling two public meetings for the summer - the first to look at the information the consultant pulls together. The second meeting will be a charette, with a landscape architect to help the downtown planning group visualize some ideas for a public space.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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