After engaging in an extensive, year-long, community-wide visioning process, the Dalton-Whitfield Archway Partnership Executive Committee recognized that the revitalization of Downtown Dalton is a top priority for the entire community. Consequently, it formed an issue work group to spearhead revitalization of the downtown area. Over the past several months, the downtown issue work group has worked with other community entities to compile baseline information from which a business plan can be developed. Information currently gathered includes a property owners’ list; a leakage report generated by Electric Cities of Georgia; concept drawings from University of Georgia College of Environment and Design students addressing streetscape improvements; and extensive ideas, proposals, and planning documents generated by Savannah College of Art and Design urban planning classes in Fall 2010.
To supplement the information previously compiled, the Downtown Dalton Issue Work Group asked Dalton State College’s School of Business for assistance in creating and conducting a survey of local consumers and downtown property and business owners. Veronica Blackstock and Jessica Marks, graduating marketing students, worked with School of Business Dean Donna Mayo to create two surveys for the issue work group. In November, Jessica, Veronica, and the Archway Partnership Executive Committee were able to solicit survey responses from approximately 450 concerned citizens regarding what they would like to see downtown. In addition, 25 downtown business owners provided thoughtful responses about what problems they face on a daily basis and what they would like to see downtown.
In December, Jessica and Veronica presented the survey results to the Downtown Dalton Issue Work Group. In the future, the group plans to utilize this information to assist the Downtown Dalton Development Authority in refining a business plan for Downtown Dalton. Both the Dalton Daily Citizen and the Chattanooga Times Free Press covered the survey results. Those articles can be viewed at: http://archwaypartnership.uga.edu/news/whitfield-news/survey-says-customers-businesses-want-more-vibrant-downtown/ and http://archwaypartnership.uga.edu/news/whitfield-news/dalton-wants-downtown-back-on-residents-radar/.