Mind­ing busi­ness

Civic As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey ad­dresses fu­ture of com­merce on the is­land

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION -

The fu­ture is in your hands. At least, the fu­ture of the Palm Beach busi­ness com­mu­nity. Do you sup­port town busi­nesses? What’s your opin­ion about Worth Av­enue, fill­ing store va­can­cies on South County Road or the resur­gence at Royal Poin­ciana Plaza? Does the devel­op­ment and the feared in­crease in traf­fic in West Palm Beach help or harm it?

The Palm Beach Civic As­so­ci­a­tion wants your opin­ion. It has taken a proac­tive ap­proach to the is­sues af­fect­ing is­land busi­nesses with an on­line sur­vey, which the or­ga­ni­za­tion has sent to roughly 4,000 email ad­dresses.

The sur­vey con­tains 18 mul­ti­ple-choice ques­tions about the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity, as well as 10 ques­tions seek­ing de­mo­graphic in­for­ma­tion. The sur­vey grew partly from a Fe­bru­ary work­shop, when town of­fi­cials and busi­ness lead­ers dis­cussed chal­lenges fac­ing lo­cal busi­nesses. That work­shop, spear­headed by Town Coun­cil mem­ber Julie Araskog, came out of a sur­vey the Palm Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce did re­cently.

With the two sur­veys and the work­shop, it seems as though res­i­dents fi­nally are pay­ing at­ten­tion to the busi­ness sec­tor.

That hasn’t al­ways been the case. Since the 1970s, some in this pro­tec­tive town have viewed busi­nesses as an­noy­ances be­cause they brought out-of-town­ers here, in­creas­ing traf­fic and cre­at­ing park­ing prob­lems. In turn, the Town Coun­cil has his­tor­i­cally taken a more hands-off ap­proach when it came to lo­cal com­merce.

Pos­si­bly, the tide is turn­ing, and it is up to the as­so­ci­a­tion and Town Coun­cil, among oth­ers, to put what’s gleaned here to good use.

How will the busi­ness com­mu­nity look in 10 years, 15 years? How will e-com­merce af­fect it? Should the town try to at­tract more vis­i­tors here to help sup­port it?

Now is the time to have your voice heard. The sur­vey can be found at palm­beach­civic.org.

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