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"Downtown Alive"

Marketing Survey
 Friday, May 15, 2020

dbawilmington@gmail.com

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Total Responses

Date Created: Friday, May 08, 2020-Ended Thursday May 14, 2020

• Sent Via DBA Newsletter to Downtown Stakeholders


• Published in Star News Article
• Published in Port City Daily News Article
• Linked and Shared on Social Media
Dear Downtown Stakeholder,

DBA has agreed to prepare and distribute a survey requesting your input regarding the
possibility of street closures to promote a new Downtown marketing effort
called “Downtown Alive”. With the shut-down of the economy due to the Covid19 out-
break numerous Downtown business owners have reached out to DBA, Senator Harper
Peterson and other elected officials asking for a focused effort to bring customers back to
their doors.

"Downtown Alive" cannot be rolled out until after we have entered Phase 2. As of
Details of the Friday, May 8th, it could be 2 to 3 weeks until Phase 2 is in place & possibly even longer
based on a continual reduction of Covid19 outbreaks over a 2-week time-line. It is our

Survey intent to spend the interim period to work through the details to be ready to successfully
roll out "Downtown Alive" the first week after approval to do so.

While working through the details of this proposal our focus was to figure out the safest
way to bring Downtown back to life while keeping social distancing at the fore front. Keep
in mind that this proposal is fluid and subject to change. After researching how other
markets have successfully implemented similar efforts the current proposal is as follows:

May 15, 2020 3


“Downtown Alive” Proposal Details

• Close Downtown streets adjacent to restaurants/bars/retail and allow restaurants & bars the
ability to expand seating onto the sidewalk in front of their building & possibly into the street
parking spaces. The streets will be designated as pedestrian use. Retailers will have the ability
to expand their wares onto the sidewalk in front of their shop as well.
“Please keep in mind that
• Business owners will need to supervise their designated spaces and be sensitive to public
this will be a tremendous
safety.
effort by many individuals,
• Restaurant and bar customers must remain in the areas designated for the business the
organizations and
food/alcohol was purchased from.
businesses. We are
• Please keep in mind that "Downtown Alive" will be rolled out only as a temporary measure to
currently coordinating
increase sales for our existing Downtown businesses.
directly with the local
• The event will be held Thursday, Friday from 5pm until 10pm, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am
Health Dept., ABC/ALE,
until 10pm.
WPD, WFD, City Staff and
• Specific streets to be closed will be identified based on the number of restaurants/bars and retail
City Council to ensure
on the street wishing to participate taking into consideration that some corridors must remain
success.”
open for those restaurants who wish to maintain pick-up/delivery.
• Effected street meters to be bagged and vehicles must be moved by 4:00pm Thursdays &
Terry Espy, DBA President
Fridays, and Saturday & Sundays by 9:00am.
• City parking deck will be open to parking at normal rates to offset lost revenue due the bagged
meters.
• Downtown Trolley route will need to be relocated from Front St during the events.

May 15, 2020 4


Q1: Do you support the implementation of "Downtown Alive"?

“Let's open! Safely!”

“Great idea! I think this should stay active


even after we get rid of the Rona.“
“We don’t own a business downtown but
support endeavors trying to maintain others in
business, contributing to the financial health
of this wonderful city!“
“I'm thrilled by this initiative. As a retailer
downtown, I know that retail is not going to see a
robust recovery here until bars and restaurants
are able to reopen. This is a way to do it much
more safely. I'm so glad we are thinking
creatively.”
Q2: Are you an owner of a restaurant downtown?

Q3: Are you an owner of a bar located downtown?

Q4: Are you an owner of a retail business located downtown


Q5: If you do NOT own a business downtown, do you consider yourself to
be a patron of downtown businesses?

Q6: Retailers: Will you remain open extended hours the evenings
designated as "Downtown Alive"?
Q7: Do you agree with the days and time frames proposed for "Downtown
Alive"

Q8: Would you volunteer to participate on a committee for "Downtown Alive"?


Comments

I hope this becomes permanent! Terrific idea! Would volunteer but have husband with pre-conditions, sorry! Consider keeping

Front st from Dock to Grace as pedestrian only. The sooner the better. Nobody has to go out if they don't want to.
Those who choose to go out have that right. How many businesses have we lost that will never reopen? Let's save
those that we can. But would expand even further - more days and longer hours. I’m a downtown resident. I support this
and think front and water streets should be car free. Would love to participate in a committee. Excellent idea
designating the proposed streets as pedestrian only. To many great examples from around the country to see the success of this
kind of effort! I saw this walking mall in Spain in a number of cities. It initiated great foot traffic for stores/bars and promoted
socialization with residents. Really a great permanent solution for out downtown . It's a great idea. There's not much parking
near the river walk any, so why not use it for pedestrians and restaurants? I would love even more hours of closed streets.
This proposal needs to stay and not be a temporary idea. There are a lot of people that have wanted to see this long before
this crisis began. I hope this happens and I hope it stays! Cape Fear Cyclists fully supports pedestrian access to downtown
Wilmington. We hope pedestrian access to downtown becomes a full-time reality. Allowing one avenue, like Front Street to be
pedestrian/bicycle would enhance access and improve safety. Please open the restaurants, it is time. Be concerned about
homeless, beggars, Street lights, security Cameras on the. River. Waste of time for retailers after 5 pm folks downtown are
the dinner & bar crowd can’t imagine anyone concerned about Social Distancing would show up. Love this idea! I
think they should consider weekday hours too!
Comments Continued
Tactical Urbanism WORKS. It is proven to inject interest, both economic and cultural, into a space. As a short-term tool, this approach has
the potential to really help local independent businesses. Please just be sure that health measures are widely advertised, face coverings are
encouraged, and antibacterial stations are plentiful! This is such a wonderful idea! Yes do everything possible to keep Wilmington alive.
Retailers and bars aren’t the only businesses downtown. I have worked as a hair stylist downtown for over 17yrs and have
owned a salon on water st for 10yrs. The last 3 years have been very hard on us because of the construction beside water st
center. Due to lack of parking and constant road closures the three salons in WSC is now down to two salons. After yrs of
struggling to keep stylist and clients we were shut down for over 2 months due to Covid19. We can’t afford to have traffic that
would be parking on front st pushed down to the already limited parking on water! I understand why this idea was proposed
and supported by so many! And I want to be supportive of other businesses. I really do! But please understand that Fringe
Salon and Imagio have been taking blows with absolutely no help from the town for years now! Retailers and bars aren’t the
only businesses downtown. I like this idea. Frankly some pedestrians endanger themselves by thinking red lights don’t apply
to them putting drivers at risk. And some pedestrians don’t even pay attention to traffic as they walk looking at their phone.
This was also true when we had the pedal taxis downtown. They were a mess as well. Just interested to see which streets this
would apply to! In the event this happens, would we be able to use our parking lot for seating as well? You guys should push for no
parking on front street between dock and chestnut. Then expand the sidewalk out and give all businesses a front cafe area.
Promote more outdoor spaces for downtown. That whole 3 block stretch should be pedestrian only.
Comments Continued
While I understand it's only for the duration of the outbreak, this is a tremendous idea that I think would really help downtown during the
summer in general. I am still a bit concerned about bringing in tourists and people who might have COVID-19 into smaller places but keeping
it in open air would help reduce the spread. We cannot wait to support our beloved town and businesses. What a great way to
support while enjoying a unique experience. We would participate every night! Absolutely LOVE this idea!!! I am a downtown
resident and fully support it. This is a great idea and will ensure that locals and visitors alike will feel safe. Make it permanent! I would
like to see this as a permanent option similar to European cities we have visited. Great to be thinking & planning this type of happening,
but I feel events fronsuch as this need to be pushed out further into the year ... even late May/ early June is just too early in the
game to get people flowing downtown en masse. Let's just get through the soft reopening of businesses and restuarants
without encouraging too much at the beginning. How about set sights on Mid July? If the virus is still laying low and the
infection rate has lessened, then go for it. Alternate blocks to make it fair. Not a lot of biz on Chestnut but damn if Copper Penny
has stayed open for this whole thing! Same with Cape Fear Wine & Beer. This would be so awesome!!! Huge step in the right
direction even after the pandemic is over. This will detract business from the bars not included though. It’d be a stab in the back. So I
propose that we alternate blocks. Please don’t forget north t! I’d be happy to collaborate with you. Should be all the days they would
normally be open. Time is of the essence! Anything we can do to increase seating ASAP will save businesses on the brink. So many
restaurants will close, but this could be the difference! If it can’t be done statewide, the mayor needs to get it done here! I live downtown
and would be happy to be on the committee as a resident and patron. Please do this! I love downtown and want to see it thriving!
Comments Continued
I own Unleashed, which is at Market and Front. I think this idea is wonderful for everyone doing business in downtown
Wilmington. I would expand the concept to every night during phase 2. Limiting the days will only entice larger crowds to be present.
While I personally do not mind that, I know that could cause some optical trouble for some folks. Make phase 2 one long spread out street
fair. Increase in Ambassadors. Great idea, it'd be really nice for the retail shops that don't have "curbside" options. I'm not sure it
would do much for us as a business, but I think it would be GREAT for food and bars. I've always wished for more outdoor
restaurant seating in the downtown area. Wilmington weather is amazing and I love any excuse to be outside. Very much support this idea! I
only wish it were long-term :) Trucks and deliveries everyday until 11 a.m. Then full closure for pedestrians until closing.
Everyday. Two weekdays is not enough to save these suffering businesses. Be bold. I hope this will be in some way publicized
throughout the state to get our B&B/hotel visitors here. they spend so much $ downtown and throughout the community! I think this is a
long time coming. It would not only be safer for patrons of these establishments, but it will help forge a more positive,
pedestrian friendly look for the city. during those times. Thank you for putting this together. It is appreciated. Most retail stores
close at 5 or 6 PM. Seems this caters mostly to restaurants and bars. Maybe retail stores could extend the space on the
sidewalk in some fashion. In short retail stores don't seem to benefit very much from this plan but I guess that's OK. Would
extend the space on the sidewalk. This is a fantastic idea. Traffic patterns downtown need to be rethought to minimize street traffic
within downtown and maximize traffic to parking locations (lots/garages). Southeastern NC is meant to be enjoyed outdoors - porches,
patios, and tree covered lanes.
Comments Continued
This is a great idea to bring business back to Wilmington. It may ease concerns of patrons who might fear being inside
buildings. We have always thought Wilmington should have more business extended to the outdoors and be more walkable
with some streets closed for pedestrians only. This is a great idea and thank you for getting this rolling. I own a CPA Firm in
downtown Wilmington. Restaurants and Bars need this desperately to increase their sales. Please make this happen as soon as
possible. Owners of the restaurants and retailers in this area should be on this committee. Businesses that rely on deliveries and
USPS mail should weigh in on the days and times. The only day I question is Thursday. If that day is a weekend prep day for business
owners, it may need to be left alone. Open containers too please. Great idea. Love this idea. thanks for the help in trying to build
downtown business back up. Open container should be allowed. Front street should be pedestrian only (with morning deliveries
as the exception) between Chestnut and Ann/Grace for good. Water street should be pedestrian only (exceptions: deliveries and
the horse carriage) and permanent farmers market stalls should be built and installed (like the ones outside Asheville’s Grove
Arcade). A great idea, thank you for considering options to open safely. Let's roll! Good idea! The hours are obviously all about bars
and restaurants we will extend hours but day light is key to our sales will retail be able to put our things out all day those for days i will not
put my clothing out to be pawed that late at night . I am very concerned that only my wares are in front of my store and that absolutely no
other outside venders are allowed. Is there any way to incorporate bed and breakfasts into the mix and promote them in some
manner? We can't even offer take-out or delivery.
Comments Continued
We live in Forest Hills and generally eat downtown once or twice each weekend. We will likely not be comfortable eating inside
restaurants for awhile but will go to those with outdoor seating and proper spacing. Smoking will be a problem to certain
businesses. Maybe encourage certain smoking "areas" to bars/restaurants. We could donate some posters to advertise the
event. The only issue we would have if the streets are closed to thru traffic. I have customers that would need to drive to my
location to load printed material into their cars. In some instances these are much too heavy to carry any distance. Friday
and Saturday nights until 11:00PM, all other times as suggested are good. As long as parking does not create a barrier to the
effort, I've always wanted to see if this could work here. As long as folks can still get to the Cotton Exchange parking lot and plenty
of spaces are provided, should work. Go slow. Until we see a steady down turn of cases, deaths, negative tests, etc., it is
foolish to encourage gatherings of people. I suggest waiting until July for Downtown Alive. I believe it is too soon to
encourage large groups of people to gather. I would start with shorter hours to test the risks. I would require masks for any service.
Safety first. I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me. keep a clear and visible walking route so that people feel
comfortable walking to businesses and retail shops that will be open during this time. We don’t want this to be
counterproductive and hurt the storefronts , as in the situations of the Street festivals. Please be sure to keep sidewalks open
and clear for retailers so we don’t have a situation like with azalea fest and other events where street traffic winds up hurting the
storefronts. Day time parking and the ability for the physically disabled and elderly should be factored in as all on street
parking is considered. Yes, anything to bring responsible foot traffic downtown will positively affect the businesses and revenues!
Thank you to all who are working to support our
Downtown Businesses

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