Blaine received an update on the ongoing effort led by the city to revitalize the local economy.
On October 11, company principal Tom Beckwith of La Conner-based Beckwith Consulting presented results from surveys released to Blaine residents and library users in July.
“We’re very interested in understanding what the city needs to do,” said city manager Dave Wilbrecht. “This is about what the residents and citizens want.”
The presentation took place during a monthly meeting led by the Blaine Economic Development Advisory Committee, which was created in an effort to address the economic needs of Blaine years ago.
The city partnered with Beckwith in early June. Since then, 21 interest groups have been approached by both entities to develop an economic plan for Blaine. The city also released three community surveys in July to gauge the needs and interests of residents, visitors and library users in the community.
On Tuesday, Beckwith revealed that a total of 420 residents responded to the resident survey, which is now closed. Most respondents reported living in central Blaine.
For most, recruitment of downtown businesses – including restaurants, retail and hotels, for example – was of crucial importance in revitalizing the local economy.
“Your anchor is your downtown,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith also went over results received from the, now closed, library survey. A total of 223 responded to the survey and agreed that renovating or expanding the facility to include public restrooms, a children’s room, teen room and computer room would improve the space for the community.
Blaine’s Economic Development Advisory Committee was also presented with a number of different conceptual designs to update or expand existing community spaces. Currently, cost and methods for completing identified projects are still in the works.