By Rich Place

The Springville Village Board on Monday learned more about what new businesses village residents, as well as nearby non-residents, would like to see as well as their overall thoughts on the local business climate.

As a surprise to most on the village board, respondents of the survey conducted by Valient Market Research concluded that a new gym or fitness center, as well as a new ice cream shop and coffee shop, ranked near the top of the most desired new businesses.

Village board members held discussion with Keith Schoonover, who presented on behalf of Valient Market Research, about the survey’s accuracy and how the data was acquired.

The survey consisted of 183 total respondents, with 100 of them being non-village residents who live within 25 miles of Springville. The other 83 were village residents, of which 52 took the survey online and the other 31 were contacted via telephone. The survey was conducted during the month of May.

Village board member Nils Wikman questioned the legitimacy of the survey given the number of respondents, stating his thoughts that a sample size of only 83 in a village of about 4,000 was “way too small.”

Schoonover contended the percentage of respondents in relation to the village size actually led to more accurate numbers than traditional national polls.

“Eighty-three people does represent a community of 4,000 statistically,” he said. “It’s somewhere around the order of a plus-minus 4 percent, which is stronger than what most political polls are that represent the entire United States.”

In the survey, a new gym or fitness center was the only type of new business that more than half of respondents said they would like to see, Schoonover said. Second was a new coffee shop, with 98 percent of village residents surveyed stating they could go to a new coffee shop at least occasionally.

Elsewhere in the survey, participants were asked about entertainment facilities with miniature golf being the top new entertainment business desired by both residents and non-residents. A driving range also ranked high in the survey.

Also, Schoonover said residents “overwhelmingly” said they would like to see a dog park in the village.

“More than half said they would go there frequently and another 20 percent said they would go there occasionally,” he said.

Other aspects of the survey included the frequency of shopping downtown versus on South Cascade Drive — with non-residents more likely to visit downtown, the survey found — and the frequency of village residents leaving Springville to shop elsewhere, with nearly half leaving the village at least monthly to go to a family restaurant as the leading response.

Springville Mayor William Krebs said the survey was provided by a grant from Empire State Development. A more complete report was provided to village board members with hopes the report can be given to people interested in investing in the community.

Also at the village board meeting:

Erie County Legislator John Mills spoke with the board — and stayed for the entirety of the meeting — to provide updates from the county level. He said “all in all the county is on pretty good footing” and spoke about upcoming road work and the cancellation of his hot dog roasts;

the village board approved removing the $75 fee for reservation of gazebos at Fiddlers Green Park and Heritage Park;

DPW superintendent Ken Kostowniak informed the board the DEC requested permission — which was granted by the board — to access the former village landfill on Mill Street to install groundwater monitors. The landfill was removed from the DEC active list in 1990;

The village board OK’d the purchase of two new trucks for the DPW. The purchases, which were from Emerling Dodge, came in under budget, Kostowniak said.

The next meeting of the village board is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 18 at the public safety building on Franklin Street.