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DDA survey responses shine light on what residents want to see in downtown Winder

POSTED: August 18, 2014 3:29 p.m.
Special photo/For the Barrow County News

This screen shot of one of the Winder Downtown Development Authority's survey questions displays a large majority of residents who responded like the idea of regulations to preserve historic buildings.

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More than 300 people responded to a survey released last week on the Winder Downtown Development Authority Facebook page.

The survey, titled "Growing Winder, Georgia," was comprised of a series of questions—some multiple-choice, some free answer—about possible improvements and other ideas for growth in the Winder community.

The ages of the 302 survey participants ranged from two who identified as 17 or younger to 52 who identified as 60 or older, with the largest group being the 93 who identified as 30-39.

Responders could choose up to three options for recommendations on where to begin revitalizing Winder’s downtown, and the top three answers were more restaurants (79 percent), more retail (63 percent) and outdoor dining (42 percent).

Nearly 73 percent of participants were in favor of stricter regulations on redevelopment in order to preserve Winder’s historic buildings.

Almost 65 percent were in favor of a Blight Tax program, which would raise the taxes on "blighted" properties until the owners addressed the issues via remediation or redevelopment of the properties.

The most favored community events, of which survey responders could choose three, were the Christmas parade (66 percent), the Jug Tavern Festival & BBQ Cook-Off (64 percent) and the farmers market (44 percent).

When asked what their two favorite community landmarks were, participants ranked the Barrow County Historic Courthouse and the Gainesville Midland Railroad at the top with 71 and 44 percent of votes respectively.

Responses to a free-answer question asking how to grow and expand the community while protecting its historic landmarks included many suggestions such as constructing a bypass to prevent large trucks from going through downtown; renovating old or empty buildings rather than build new ones; and bringing in activities for young children.

Another question asked what other events could be offered, and many responders called for more themed festivals, weekly community yard sales and other free events and shows for the public.

Over 1,100 people have "liked" the DDA Facebook page, while a little more than a quarter of that number took the survey.



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