The city of Groveport asked, and its residents provided plenty of input about the future of the historic downtown area by taking part in an online survey that closed Aug. 13.

Places to eat rank high on the list of businesses people want to see, according to preliminary survey results.

More than half (55 percent) of the nearly 600 survey respondents said they would like to see a restaurant or diner in town. Other ideas included: coffee shop (13 percent), sandwich shop (8 percent), brew pub (7 percent) and an interactive family cafe (6 percent).

The survey, conducted by the Groveport Community Improvement Corp., also asked about potential retail businesses, with 38 percent of respondents wanting a bakery, followed by a vintage store (22 percent), an arts and hobby store (10 percent), outdoor and recreational sports store (8 percent), consignment boutique (8 percent) and pet store (5 percent).

The CIC has been working with the research and planning firm Downtown Professionals Network, based in Tennessee, in conducting a local retail market analysis, costing about $11,000.

"Currently, one of our biggest problems is space; we don't have any," Groveport City Councilman and CIC board member Ed Dildine Jr. said.

"We need to find some space and then specifically market to things that were higher on the survey, such as mom-and-pop diners or a bakery."

Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said the survey "is just one part of a retail market analysis and marketing strategy plan being completed.

"The entire project is slated to be completed and presented to the public in late October," she said.

Groveport's last market study was completed in 2003 and updated in 2011. The prior reports offered recommendations that included targeting sites in the historic downtown district for redevelopment and emphasizing the community's heritage; developing a regional tourism approach; and promoting business expansion, development and investment opportunities.

The survey, which began July 30, already has delivered potential new development, Dildine said.

"We've been meeting with five or six potential people who are wanting to either expand or bring their business to Groveport," he said.

City Council is expected to receive a complete report from Downtown Professionals Network in October.

Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents live within Groveport city limits, while about 20 percent live within 10 miles of Groveport. About a quarter of the respondents said they work in Groveport.

Three times as many women -- nearly 70 percent -- than men responded to the survey.

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