In March and April of this year, the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) undertook an online survey to try to understand the gaps that exist in goods and services available locally. A total of 440 households responded to the survey. A wealth of data was collected and analysis of the data is ongoing. The goal is to provide the community, local officials and business leaders with a series of reports targeting the major insights and findings.
The initial takeaway that the committee had upon first review of the results was how interested and engaged Cazenovia’s community members are. Responses from 440 households represent about 12 percent of the school district. This was a very good response. In addition, the responses to the open ended questions were extensive and very well thought out.
“As a community, you had a lot to say, and we were happy to listen and we look forward to positive actions as a result,” said CACDA Executive Director Lauren Lines. “We are encouraged by how much local residents care about our community and want to do business locally and thank everyone who responded for taking the time to complete the survey.”
The CACDA survey committee was pleased to note that some progress related to downtown development has been made already. For example, the desire for a local movie theater came up repeatedly and Cazenovia College has recently partnered with CACDA to fill this gap by offering Friday night movies at the college theater. They hope to be able to expand times and offer newer releases later this year.
Perhaps most often identified was the desire for a local ice cream shop. There is now Carter’s Creamery in addition to the offerings at Caz Pizza. This new business was not related to the survey results but rather a response to a clear demand. However, this positive development provides momentum for other complementary businesses and brings additional foot traffic and vitality to our village.
One other comment made several times was the desire for a bookstore. In fact, there is an often-overlooked resource which is the Cazenovia College Bookstore on Sullivan Street just north of Dave’s Diner. This bookstore is open to the general public and offers best sellers, magazines, gift items, office supplies and Cazenovia apparel and gear.
“We recognize that part of our challenge is raising awareness of some of the things we already have locally,” said Lines.
CACDA will report to the community on the survey findings in more detail over the next several months and then will work on identifying strategies to encourage new businesses in areas where gaps are identified.
CACDA is committed to the economic vitality of the region, and the preservation of its rural historic character. Every year, CACDA leverages local investment to obtain grants, funding and support for priority projects to our area. More information about CACDA projects and initiatives can be found on their website at cacda.net.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.