LaFayette community voice unified vision for revitalization
Published 8:30 am Saturday, July 1, 2023
A survey of the LaFayette community showed that business diversification and improved buildings and appearances were the first things that should be improved. Businesses and consumers were united in their efforts to see downtown thrive.
LaFayette Main Street presented the survey results of community and business expectations and goals for downtown during a meeting on Thursday night.
Businesses and consumers alike placed the highest priority on efforts to “create incentives for new and expanding downtown businesses” at 4.46 out of 5 for consumers and 4.91 out of 5 for business owners.
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“This is really uncanny in some respects, because it’s not often that we see consumers and businesses necessarily agreeing with each other,” said Main Street Alabama consultant and Downtown Professionals Network Founder Jay Schlinsog during the presentation. “… There’s something to be said about how these responses align, and how that provides a foundation for building consensus. For those next steps moving forward.”
A total of 401 consumers and business owners participated in the survey, which covered topics from enhancing downtown’s appeal to potential business opportunities. The respondents, whether consumers or businesses, generally agreed that downtown LaFayette is “improving or making progress.”
“I want to applaud the Main Street group here, and everyone that’s been part of this effort,” Schlinsog said. “I have no doubt that these marks have been strongly influenced even by the early work that you all have been doing here, and that’s being noticed.”
During the initial market survey presentation in January, Schlinsog gave an example of pasting portraits in the windows of the vacant buildings downtown. Schlinsog said he was impressed by how quickly and effectively LaFayette Main Street’s Portraits of Honor campaign was.
However, most respondents rated the statement, “Downtown presents a positive image to visitors,” with the lowest score.
As for adding appeal to downtown, 70% of respondents said a wider selection of eating and drinking places, more outdoor dining and lounging areas and a wider selection of retail establishments would best contribute to the appeal.
LMS Director DeAnna Hand also mentioned that LaFayette Main Street needs younger voices. She said she wants to see the organization bolster young entrepreneurs and hear what they want to see in downtown.
“Things are happening here in LaFayette,” Hand said during the meeting.