West Virginia housing focus of Main Street study
PARKERSBURG — As a Main Street America affiliate, Downtown PKB is entitled to technical assistance from the West Virginia Main Street office. Through a bid process in late 2021, the West Virginia Main Street office hired Jay Schlinsog with Downtown Professionals Network to conduct a housing study for Main Street communities throughout the state, including Parkersburg.
The survey, which was conducted in the fall of 2021, had 260 respondents, all of whom live within 20 miles of Parkersburg. More than half, 56%, of the survey results indicate an interest in living in downtown Parkersburg, with 84% of the current residents likely to recommend downtown Parkersburg as a good place to live.
A closer look at the survey results show that most respondents would prefer a purchase option over renting and that 30% of survey respondents report annual earnings of $100,000. The price range of respondents that most indicated a desire to purchase was between $150,000 and $199,000.
The largest demographic of those who completed the survey were between the ages of 35-44 years old and report being married with children. The most important aspects listed were the following: 67% safety, 44% walkability, and 42% reasonable or low cost of housing. Important features preferred by potential downtown residents include properties that allow pets, high-speed internet, lawn space and off-street parking, with most respondents requiring two or more bedrooms.
When asked to indicate the types of establishments people would like to see downtown, 50% of respondents chose more or a wider variety of retail businesses in the following order: general/variety stores, bookstores, specialty foods, butcher/meat markets, and arts/crafts/hobbies establishments. The second most popular choice for the preferred types of downtown establishments coming in at 49% were: bakeries, family restaurants, breakfast/brunch restaurants, healthy menu restaurants and Asian restaurants, in that order.
Downtown PKB plans to host a vacant property tour in the summer of 2022 to showcase properties that have vacant commercial space and have the potential for downtown housing in the future.