Town surveys show people want restaurants

Posted on December 5, 2017
This article was written by the Sahuarita Sun and was originally featured online

Last month, the Town of Sahuarita invited residents to give their input on a new town center, and according to the surveys they filled out, an overwhelming majority want new dining choices more than anything else.

Eighty-five percent of the 50 respondents said they would be most excited to see restaurants in a town center, while 74 percent said they were interested in a retail area. When asked what preferred business types they wanted to see, 77 percent said dinner restaurants, 63 percent said lunch restaurants and 54 percent said breakfast restaurants. Further down the list were coffee shops, bars/breweries and a movie theater.

Thirty-nine percent said they would like to see clothing retailers; 38 percent want a bowling alley.

The town wants to create a mixed-use district that will provide housing, commercial lots and civic spaces and include an amphitheater and splash pad. On Nov. 2, town officials and representatives from Norris Design in Tucson invited residents to take a look at artist renderings of gathering spaces, open spaces and retail areas during meetings at Quail Creek and Town Hall. They were also asked about their preferences when it comes to building designs and materials.

No locations have been selected for the new district and it will likely be years before ground is broken, but Stacey Weaks, a principal with Norris Design, told the crowd it is crucial for the community to come together now to make decisions about what they want.

“We were encouraged by the community’s interest and input,” Weaks said Tuesday. “The attendees are excited about the opportunity for a destination to live, work and play. The mix of uses with a central community gathering space resonated with the attendees.”

Victor Gonzalez, economic development manager for the Town of Sahuarita, said the survey results reaffirmed what the town heard from residents who filled out an initial survey earlier this year.

Seventy-nine percent of those who filled out the questionnaire believe Sahuarita needs to establish an outdoor public gathering space.

They were also asked what kinds of public space would improve “livability” in Sahuarita. It was a two-way split between a central plaza/green space and special event/festival space with 46 percent casting their vote for each one. Forty-four percent said they’d like to see a splash pad/water feature, 41 percent said they’d like an amphitheater.

Of those who filled out the questionnaires, 39 percent were ages 34 to 54. Forty-one percent live in Rancho Sahuarita and 23 percent live in Quail Creek.

The survey results will be shared at Monday’s Town Council meeting.

While 2017 was all about the concept, next year will be filled with discussions about how to execute a plan, Gonzalez said.

The Town will need to determine the town plaza location based on land availability, infrastructure and funding, Gonzalez said.

Project updates will soon be provided on the website, Weaks said.