Kentucky University study
shows Carrollton downtown lacking
is behind the push to upgrade service
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (January 2005) The city of
Carrollton has many tourist draws: a state resort park, an outlet mall,
a variety of antique stores and several family-style restaurants. But,
according to a recent survey conducted by Northern Kentucky University
students, certain overall characteristics are missing from the downtown
From Oct. to Dec. 2004, Carrollton was the subject of a downtown retail
market survey. Senior marketing students led by NKU Assistant Professor
of Marketing, Dr. Aron M. Levin, Ph.D., evaluated a targeted 21-block
area from the Kentucky River to Seventh Street and from the Ohio River
to Sycamore Street.
by Don Ward
To begin the project, students polled 353 attendees in
Sept. at the Carroll County Tobacco Festival. Each participant was asked
to complete a four-page written questionnaire to determine how to best
grow and improve the area. Questions also targeted respondents
awareness of the Main Street Program and its goals, and the importance
of downtown revitalization efforts.
Carrollton has been a part of the Kentucky Heritage Council Main Street
Program and Renaissance Kentucky since 1996. A similar survey was completed
then, but it was not specific to what has since become the Renaissance
district, said Carrollton Main Street Director Sam Burgess.
Renaissance Kentucky requested a survey be completed that was specific
to this district, said Burgess. But, no new information has become available
with the recent survey; it was only a repeat of what was said before,
The result is that some things are missing from the downtown area,
said Burgess. He cited a decent family restaurant, recreational outlets
for young people and a better mix of retail stores, as factors lacking
from the area.
Two groups of students have contributed to this survey. Each made a
separate report on the Tobacco Festival survey findings. A formal presentation
was made at NKU on Dec. 2, which Burgess attended. In turn, he asked
the students to provide a presentation to the Carrollton City Council
in Dec., which would be the last meeting students could attend before
their class was finished for the semester.
Reno Deaton, executive director of the Carroll County Economic Development
Corp., attended the NKU presentation with Burgess. Deaton said he enjoyed
the presentation and is looking forward to getting the underlying
data. Once the final results are tallied, Deaton said he would
have a better understanding of the project and its concepts, and how
to proceed with it.
The Main Street Program board of directors has yet to meet as a group
and discuss the results of the survey. This will probably take place
at the January meeting, said Burgess.
From survey results, students concluded that most people arent
aware of the Main Street Program or its goals for the city of Carrollton.
Renaissance Kentucky strives to assist communities like Carrollton with
downtown revitalization efforts to keep the areas vibrant and highly
The Carrollton Main Street Program is a nonprofit organization, governed
by an 11-member board of directors. The Program addresses the concerns
of the historic downtown business district through a four-point approach:
economic restructuring, design, promotion and organization.
The Programs goal is to protect and maintain the historic architecture
and culture of the downtown area, while revitalizing the development
of the area. Carrollton has been funded grants for its Streetscape Project,
which provided new sidewalks and lighting in the downtown area, and
the Façade Grant Program, which assisted in renovating storefronts.
Of the Carrollton Main Street Program, Burgess said there is some
recognition, but its not widespread. He conceded that the
program has received some name recognition over the last three years,
but just like any other project, when there is no controversy,
there is no recognition, he said.
The survey has been presented and the next step is to give the board
of directors time to devise answers to the questions raised by
the project. Plans must be laid out, taking into consideration the opinion
of residents and merchants.
Carroll County has a tremendous industrial foundation, said
Deaton. This is the heart of the community. These assets
must be given time to mature and develop into a viable commercial capacity.
The downtown area has a mix of retail businesses and services, and a
nice variety of restaurants, said Deaton. The focus now is on developing
a plan to draw new business downtown and provide them with the incentive
to remain there.
For more information contact Burgess at
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