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DDA Outreach program to assess city needs

Business and property owners in downtown Lincolnton will soon have an opportunity to be heard.
The city’s Downtown Development Association is unveiling a new visitation program, called the Downtown Outreach Program.
The program marks the first part of a comprehensive market analysis that will help downtown businesses be more successful and improve the quality of retail and service opportunities available to residents.
It will also assist the DDA with future design, promotion and economic restructuring projects.
DDA’s Economic Restructuring Work Group, comprising downtown business and property owners, is leading the effort.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to assess the needs of the small business and investment community and work towards meeting those needs,” said Barry Matherly, chairman of the group.
“We want to know their thoughts on owning a business in Lincolnton and gauge the local business and investment climate.”
The five-question survey focuses on three areas. The first covers business development information.
Group members aim to determine the demand for various types of goods and services, as well as discover expansion and recruitment opportunities.
The next area is a needs and opportunities assessment. DDA would like to determine what businesses and property owners want most from the development organization.
“We want to focus our limited resources on the activities their businesses find most useful,” Matherly said. “We want to help them expand their operations downtown.”
The third and final area covers participation and involvement.
As a volunteer organization, DDA depends on business and property owners and other interested stakeholders to accomplish its mission.
Laura Gregory, DDA board chairwoman, said the organization is open to anyone who wants to participate.
“Without the many volunteer hours contributed to the program, we could not support all of the organization’s activities,” she said. “It is very much a collaborative effort.”
The visitation program started this week. After an initial survey blitz, team members will make visits on a weekly basis. Key findings will be reported to survey participants and DDA’s community partners as soon as they are available.
The Economic Restructuring Work Group will be responsible for selecting business and property owners to visit, but interested parties may volunteer for a visitation team by calling the DDA at 704-736-8915.

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