Before going to the drawing board, the city held two theming workshops on Monday, April 20th in the community center to solicit support and design input from residents and businesses. The invitation was extended to all citizens via newspaper, the passing out of flyers and through social media.
93 participants showed and were asked to anonymously respond to 20 questions using a state-of-the-art measuring tool resembling a TV remote.
The results showed:
Most of the respondents have lived here over 21 years and were between the ages of 50 to 69. The primary reason they participated was to provide their thoughts and learn more about the future of downtown.
The attendees affirmed they frequented the downtown with over 37% indicating a daily visit to the City and 25% indicating they frequent a few times a week.
The reasons for going downtown were varied with most stating they go downtown for special events. Over 31% indicated they only pass-through the City on their way elsewhere. To shop (1.16%) and recreate (2.33%) was ranked the lowest. Just over 9% go downtown to dine.
Since this event launched the #CarsonProud campaign, the attendees were asked what they are most proud of regarding downtown. Over 27% indicated the historic structures and another almost 27% are proud of our community and cultural events. They were least proud of the ease of parking and the diversity of businesses further citing business diversity as in need of improvement along with the lack of a good pedestrian environment.
The attendees were presented with three overall themes from which to choose that would best represent how they want the downtown to look as we go forward: Historic, Transportation or Civic/Capitol. All three themes had major historic overtones since the transportation category featured the V&T Railroad, Pony Express, Lincoln Highway and more. The overwhelming response was to proudly retain Carson’s history translating to the use of brick on buildings, stamped concrete to resemble wooden boardwalks (receiving almost 31% of the vote), and retaining and expanding the current historic looking lighting.
When asked to rate the “must see” sites in downtown, the historic buildings along the Blue Line Trail in the historic west side was ranked highest at 25% with the second highest the museums. As indicated earlier, shopping was ranked lowest at under 2% along with gaming at just under 3.5%.
The “needs work” segment ranked the diversity of businesses and overall visual quality as the two issues most needed to improve the downtown experience.
Participants ranked the City’s outreach to involve residents in the decision-making of their re-imagined city as good to very good and gave an over 74% rating indicating the City is going in the right direction. n