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Survey put out by city seeks input about downtown area

Date: 3/13/2015

WESTFIELD – The city of Westfield’s quest to revitalize the downtown area continues. This time, the Department of Community Development wants input from business owners and customers.

Two surveys have been released for the month of March designed to understand attitudes towards downtown Westfield. There is one survey for business owners and another for consumers.

Peter Miller, director of community development, said that the city wants to hear what both sides have to say about the issue and how to improve the situation.

“We want to gain an understanding of what people’s expectations are and measure that against what we can do as government to accomplish these goals for the downtown area,” Miller said.

With these surveys, Miller said that the city of Westfield is opening up lines of communication between businesses and the government that will help both work towards a common goal.

“I think that the primary thing that we’re trying to do is develop a baseline from which we can start conversation with business communities and citizens of Westfield to turn the tide in downtown,” Miller said. “When the [Business Improvement District] was established, I think the direct communication we had primarily with the business community had fallen by the wayside because other avenues of community had been created.”

While the Miller and his department know that there needs to be open communication between the city, the businesses and the consumers, there is responsibility beyond communication.

Miller said that when the information from the surveys is implemented, it would be on Westfield residents and customers in the community to take advantage of it.

“It’s going to be up to costumers to show up as things are planned and projects are executed. It’s going to be up to the 40,000 people in Westfield and surrounding communities to support businesses because that’s the only way that this works,” Miller said.

Each survey should take about 15 minutes, Miller said. Despite its length, Miller said that there were about 300 participants in the first weekend alone.

This number shows that people are dedicated to making downtown Westfield a thriving center once again, Miller said.

“That’s where our largest sense of hope is from is that people really do have a soft spot for downtown Westfield, whether you’re new to town or have been for years. It’s a place people really do care about. We’re trying to turn to the tide. It’s been 25 years, and it doesn’t happen over night, but it’s certainly been a long night for us.”

The surveys are available online. To access the consumer survey, visit www.surveymonkey/s/westfielddowntownsurvey2015.

For more information or to access paper copies of the surveys, contact the Department of Community Development by calling 572-6246 or by emailing