Monday, June 19, 2006

Survey says...

Leave it up to the public to solve the Spa City’s nagging problems, such as the affordable housing crisis, skyrocketing rents on Broadway and the ill effects of over-development.

The solution? Bring in more restaurants and maybe a potato chip museum.

That’s according to the unscientific public survey results of Team Saratoga, a marketing committee formed by Finance Commissioner Matt McCabe and tasked with finding solutions to ensure future success in the city.

In February, Team Saratoga attempted to reach out to the public with a survey asking for the little guy’s opinion. Physical surveys were located at City Hall and businesses across the city, while the plugged in resident could fill out an online questionnaire and file it electronically.

However, you can lead the public to a survey, but you can’t make them fill it out. In the end, residents largely ignored the appeal, with less than five percent of the population completing it, according to The Saratogian. And among the 1,300-some-odd residents that did complete the exercise, few seemed to have a grasp on the real issues –much less any issues –facing the Spa City in the 21st century.

Yes, traffic lights cycle in under 10 minutes. And yes, truck traffic is a nagging problem in a city that’s grown overdeveloped for its roadways. But when the top three new business suggestions are a high-end grocer, in-city movie theater and several new restaurants, one must call into doubt the results of the entire survey.

For those who haven’t traversed downtown Saratoga Springs in the past three decades, there’s an overabundance of restaurants that choke the street and seem to increase two-fold during any given year. For most owners, that means the pie is getting sliced a bit thinner every year. It also means only the most competitive and prominently located eateries stay in business at the end of the day, while everyone else is sent packing.

As for the high-end grocer, it’s tough to miss the Putnam Market on a stroll downtown, unless perchance you happen to be blind and lacking any olfactory senses. And if customers actually showed an interest in the movie complex on Congress Street, then perhaps some strapping entrepreneur would consider bringing another cinema within the city limits.

There were, however, several interesting comments to be gleaned from the survey. Some feel it’s time to bring a marathon to Saratoga Springs to highlight the city’s heritage as a health-oriented destination. Of course, this meshes well with another screwball idea tossed into the mix: form an entire museum dedicated to celebrating the potato chip.

Given this info, here’s an idea for city leaders to mull. How about hosting the Lay’s 25kg-25k, where all runners need to binge on 25 kilograms of potato chips in the week leading up to the 25 kilometer race. If nothing else, the race might bolster the city’s cardiology business.


Anonymous Nik said...

Lay's 25kg-25k, hilarious man. Haha, can I get my hamburger FRIED with a side of LARD to dip it into? And I want 10 pieces of bacon on top...

8:08 AM  

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