Responding to a survey, the City Council has agreed to create a task force to boost the city's "economic vitality," in part by wooing new businesses to town.
Questionnaires were sent to 3,370 households in August to determine what it would take to get more residents to shop in town. More than 500 households replied.
Respondents said they want more "resident-serving" businesses, such as five-and-dime stores, gourmet markets, bookstores and family-style restaurants. More than half said they shop outside the city at least 60% of the time.
"This is one of the greatest things I've seen done in years here," Councilman Wayne J. Baglin said about the survey, which the council discussed Tuesday night. "This is just an exceptionally valuable tool."
The council unanimously agreed to create a task force that will both seek ways to help existing businesses and work to attract new companies to town.
Respondents said they are deterred from shopping here because of the scarcity of parking, higher prices and a lack of item availability or selection.
They also offered a wide variety of unsolicited comments, including a rash of complaints about the city's only movie house.
The task force will be directed to report back to the council in January.