WATSONVILLE — A lack of options for restaurants and entertainment in downtown Watsonville were two of the top findings of a three-day survey conducted by the city in partnership with Civinomics and the Santa Cruz County Business Council.
The survey was taken between Sept. 4-6, during the afternoon, and concluded during an evening farmers market.
A total of 134 responses were collected, with a specific focus on those who work, shop, or go to school in the downtown area.
Respondents also cited Santa Cruz as their first preference for favorite downtown area in the Monterey Bay region.
The survey is the first step in a process to get more local involvement in the economic development process, which also includes online participation and multiple community workshops.
When asked “What new businesses would you most like to have in downtown Watsonville?”, respondents chose “Restaurants” (20 percent), “Local Shops” (17 percent), “Theaters” (14 percent), “Live Music Venues” (12 percent) and “Bars/Nightclubs” (9 percent).
When asked “If you could do one thing to change Downtown Watsonville, what would it be?” the majority of respondents made comments about having better stores to shop at, and needing more entertainment venues.
A significant number of participants also commented about needing to clean up the downtown area, and address the homeless population.
The survey was overseen and compiled by Kurt Overmeyer, the economic development coordinator for the city.
Civinomics staff and Joe Foster, executive director of the Santa Cruz County Business Council, also helped to administer the survey, along with volunteers from the Watsonville Youth City Council.
The volunteers helped to translate the survey into Spanish to gather more diverse feedback.
The survey is supplemental to an online workshop for open feedback, which can be accessed on Civinomics at tinyurl.com/mq3uj8c. Multiple City Council members and city staff are actively listening into the discussion taking place there, which already has more than 100 participants.
“The results from this survey will help to directly guide our economic development agenda,” Overmeyer stated in a press release. “This information will definitely bolster all of the other groundwork we have done with our Downtown Revitalization Stakeholder Group.”
The final results will be presented during an open public workshop on Nov. 6, hosted by the city of Watsonville.
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