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Scituate begins process to increase economic development in town

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 30, 2012 02:58 PM

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Scituate’s new Economic Development Commission has released its survey to locals and businesses as a means to start discussion of how the town can develop its commercial base.

The commission was established in May 2011 by the Board of Selectmen through a recommendation by the Planning Board as a means to enhance the business community, attract new business, bring in new customers, and encourage redevelopment within the municipality.

The end goal is to increase property tax revenues, income, and the job base, and secure the economic health of the town, especially in light of ever-increasing expenses and falling state aid.

“The Town of Scituate has enormous assets, from its work force, to its location, to its strong support of its business community,” said Bill Logan, chairman of the commission. “The commission has been charged with helping to create additional revenues for the town and opportunities for new and existing businesses. This survey is an important step towards that goal.”

Within the survey, residents and locals will be asked what works well currently and what doesn’t.

Participants are asked to record their thoughts on Scituate’s business mix and quality of life. For the residential survey, questions include a rating of the business hours, and the quality and variety of stores and restaurants.

Other questions include the top five strengths of the town, top five weaknesses, and why residents leave the town to shop elsewhere

“Perhaps more importantly, this is an opportunity to be heard and influence the outcome,” the commission said in a release.

Individual responses will be kept confidential unless the respondents wish to provide their contact information for volunteer opportunities.

Compiled data will be used to guide the commission’s agenda throughout the process.

“Scituate must embrace its business community and encourage its residents to shop in and around the town. In order to avoid tax overrides in the future, we need to build a solid tax base with consistent and sufficient revenue sources,” Logan said.

Avoiding tax overrides was a main concern for the commission, who has envisioned a list of projects in the year since their re-activation and is looking to prioritize them with the information from the survey.

"There are areas around town that we feel are yearning for services they don’t have them, but they could get because there is space or business that want to retool and we want to help them do that," Logan said. "We also want to use some of the vacant properties in town to bring in businesses that make sense."

According to Logan, the commission is hoping for over 1000 responses, and the staff has done a variety of outreach to make sure everyone's voice is heard.

The comments section will perhaps be the most valuable of the entire survey.

"It takes a bit to go through, but we think the information would be invaluable, so we hope to get some of those specific comments," Logan said. "There have been people who lived in town a short time and all their life, we need to hear back from those folks."

The survey will be available online from through June 8.

Anyone with questions can contact the Economic Development Commission at The Scituate Town Library has public computers available to anyone with a valid library card or ID.

To access the survey or learn more, click here.

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