Portion of New Market survey results revealed

New Market councilman Peter Hughes revealed part of the results from his citizen survey at council’s monthly meeting Tuesday evening. He said that he was enthused by the effort put forth by the citizens of New Market.

The survey, in the works for several months, was designed to gauge the public’s stance on economic development and in the town and, on a larger scale, to provide input for a comprehensive plan.

Hughes said that 194 people – a mixture of in-town residents and those who share New Market’s zip code but are outside town limits – responded to the survey. The survey gauged demographics, shopping habits, pleasure with town facilities and desired businesses in the town, among others. Hughes said that he was able to notice some trends in the data.

“We got a decent representative sample and I really appreciate the effort in the responses that we got,” he said. “You can see that people really tried to help us. … There were themes that came up rather frequently. One theme to me seemed to be pretty clear that there was a sizable level of concern for the town and loss of businesses. I say that because there were so many suggestions to turn things around.”

The portion of the survey explained by Hughes consisted of the data obtained by the survey. There were also three short answer questions on the survey, which will be addressed and discussed at March’s council meeting.

Hughes explained the overall idea behind the survey – to obtain, analyze and act on concerns of residents.

“When we put together the survey, we were aware of a number of things and we wanted to try to include topics that emerged (in) earlier (discussion),” he said. “When I look back at some of the past surveys, some of them dating from 2002, there are several items which just keep showing up. If there are areas that are important to the citizens, I want to make sure our plan addresses those things.”

Hughes said that some of the suggestions and responses received in the survey, while not necessarily invalid, are out of the town’s control. He used work that would need to be done by the Virginia Department of Transportation as one example and also cited others.

“There are things we literally don’t have a lot of control over now unless we do some clear communication with VDOT,” he said. “We can’t repave roads, we can’t engineer roads.”

Hughes explained the town’s plan of action moving forward.

“I think one of the next steps should be a time where anyone whose interested in the results of the survey can review it with us,” he said. “We have to quickly begin to identify similarities, that we’re seeing across the board. Then the rubber meets the road and we really have to start doing he work. … In my opinion, we need to put together a plan for what we need to do in the near, middle and longer term and the town needs to accept some responsibility in moving those things forward. I would hate to survey the town in 10 years and see the same things that haven’t been addressed.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com