Wednesday February 13, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The results are in from an informal fall survey seeking input and suggestions about Cambridge’s downtown.

Left at various area businesses in the village and also available online on the municipality’s website, there were 32 completed surveys: 15 from village residents and 17 from visitors.

Acknowledging that sampling as not scientifically significant, Rick Lederer-Barnes, the village trustee responsible for drafting the survey, said the information collected was still worthwhile. "It starts to paint a picture," Lederer-Barnes said at Wednesday’s village meeting. A picture that’s "overall fairly positive."

The downtown visitor survey is available on the village website at www.cambridgeny.gov and may be filled out there.

Lederer-Barnes said in the future the survey could include a "standalone" version for general responses, plus rounds during high activity periods like this March’s Tour of the Battenkill bicycle race.

Of those responding to date, approximately half said they were brought to Cambridge as they were passing through and/or shopping. Few visitors staying overnight in the area said they would be staying in Cambridge.

For attractions among those polled, Hubbard Hall topped the list, followed by the local farmer’s market, June’s Cambridge Valley Balloon Festival, October’s Apple Festival, and the bicycle tour, in that order.


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(In terms of sheer numbers, the tour and balloon festival bring in the biggest weekend crowds, but the recent survey was not available during either event last year.)

Common nearby destinations included Greenwich, Saratoga Springs, Bennington, Vt., and Manchester, Vt. -- in that order.

Lederer-Barnes said common strands appearing in the survey included respondents liking the community’s rural setting and the village’s charm and friendliness. A common refrain on how to improve Cambridge was the need for more and more varied dining establishments.

The survey became first available during last October’s apple festival. Last summer, Lederer-Barnes characterized the survey as an economic development initiative to gauge visitors and residents. "The point is to get the pulse of the people shopping downtown," he said in July. "How often they’re downtown, where else they go. ... Things they shop for," he said then, describing the poll as a "no-cost" way for the village to help the business community.

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