By SHANNON WATKINS
For the past nine weeks, we’ve gone out into the public and gotten your answers to a single question each time. For our tenth week, we’re taking a look back at what people had to say, and then we’d like to ask you another question.
Our first week’s question was, “What improvements, if any, would you like to see to downtown Pulaski?”
Answers ranged from “Something more for kids” to “We need some restaurants,” but almost everyone wanted to see more stores open downtown. Having something for children and teens to do was a recurring theme in answers to many of our questions.
Our second week’s question was, “Should the Pulaski city government impose mandatory improvements downtown?”
Out of seven respondents, one thought not, saying, “I think there’s over-governing as far as regulations,” but our other six that week gave an emphatic yes. One added a sentiment that popped up again and again in later columns, saying “It used to be a nice little booming town and it’s pretty much dead now.”
Our third week’s question, directed at downtown shop owners, was, “How would you feel if the town government imposed stricter regulations on how you must maintain your business as part of a downtown improvement plan?”
One business owner was against it, two were somewhat cautious, and four were enthusiastic, with one saying colorfully, “I would love to see that. The appearance of West Main Street is one of dilapidated approaching abandonment.”
Our fourth week’s question, directed at the Pulaski Town Council, was, “What role do you see town legislation taking in helping to create a downtown that appeals to tourists and helps draw in new merchants?”
In this instance, we got a wide range of answers, from specific plans to general ideas for improvement. Two council members agreed that developing Route 99 to draw people off the interstate was a priority.
Our fifth week’s question was, “Would you like to see more stores in downtown Pulaski keep longer hours and be consistently open on weekends?”
Our answers were short and too the point, almost all starting with an emphatic “Yes.” One person added, “Most everything’s moved to the other side of town or Dublin.”
Our sixth week’s question, hearkening back to some of town council’s answers from our fourth question, asked, “Which do you think Pulaski needs to develop first: the downtown area so people will have a place to go, or route 99 so people will be drawn in off the interstate?”
Out of eight people, one said, “Actually I think it’s both. We need to draw people in, but why would you want to bring them in if there’s nothing to bring them to?” Everyone else wanted to see downtown improved first. Said one citizen, “Downtown, because we don’t have anything here to do. We have to go elsewhere to do things.”
Our seventh week’s question was, “Would you like to see public transportation options in Pulaski that run later and more often?”
Everyone agreed they’d like to see this happen, with one citizen adding the observation “That would be a good alternative to driving or taking a cab—it would cut down on DUIs.”
Our eighth week’s question was, “Would you like to see the downtown portion of Peak Creek become a recreational area for the public?”
One citizen thought Pulaski should focus on getting more stores downtown before doing anything recreational near the creek; another thought nothing should be done until the creek was cleaned of any possible toxins. Another citizen wanted it cleaned and stocked with fish; everyone else felt that the creek offered definite opportunities for recreation.
Last week our ninth question was, “What does your family do for local recreation in the summer and what would you like to see available in Pulaski?”
Answers varied; some people said hiking the trails, others expressed appreciation for Randolph Park but felt it was too far away from downtown. One respondent said, “A local public swimming pool would be nice. There’s kids that can’t go down to Randolph.”
Unfortunately our Man on the Street feature is lacking in one area; namely, we can only reach those people who are out and about in town. After some debate, we decided to remedy that.
So this week we want to really turn our feature over to the public: if you haven’t had a chance to appear in our Man on the Street feature, what question have we not asked that you’d like to see your fellow Pulaskians answer?
Please send us your idea for next week’s Man on the Street question at The Southwest Times, P.O. Box 391, Pulaski, VA 23401 or email it with the heading “Man on the Street Question” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions must be received by Wednesday, May 15.
Posted May 10, 2013