The city’s economic development department wants to know what businesses Del Rioans would like to see open their doors in the Queen City.

Del Rioans have the opportunity to express their opinions about those businesses and other economic development concerns in a survey on the city’s web site, and on its Facebook page.

Oriana Fernandez, the city’s economic development director, said the survey was put up Monday.

“I think it’s important, as public servants, we need to try to tailor our goals to what the citizens want,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said survey takers may remain anonymous.

She said the idea for the public survey came from a smaller survey the city’s economic development department is conducting downtown.

“The idea for this came from our Main Street Program, where we were talking about a community survey for downtown, so upon discussing that with the board and doing one for the downtown area, where we went downtown and gave out a smaller survey, more focused on downtown development and revitalization, I just thought maybe we should do one for the entire city, because we were getting such good feedback from that one,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said she hopes to learn several things from the surveys completed by Del Rioans.

“I’d like to hear general feedback on what types of businesses people want to see. When people find out what I do, they’re always very eager to share their opinions with me: They’ll tell me, ‘Hey, why don’t we bring in Academy (Sports and Outdoors),’ or ‘hey, we need some more restaurants, more steakhouses.’ Or, ‘we need a seafood restaurant,’ or ‘we need more clothing stores,’ so I’m always hearing opinions about the kinds of businesses people think we should be recruiting.

“There are some tougher questions, like the third one, ‘When it comes to growth and development, what is the city’s biggest challenge?’ As of the end of business Wednesday, we already had a couple of hundred surveys filled out, and I’ve seen a couple of the responses, and it’s interesting to see what people say,” she said.

Fernandez said the challenges the citizens perceive facing the city may be different than those identified by the city.

“You can tell our citizens are very intelligent and informed and understand how the politics of the city work, and you can tell that by their responses,” she said.

“All of them have been saying pretty much the same thing. Some of them say the challenges come from within the city, the politics of things. Some of them say it’s certain groups of people within the community, or the way the city does things, the red tape that’s involved or the funding.

Another question asks about the city’s greatest assets.

“Overwhelmingly, we see that it’s the water, the San Felipe Springs, the creek, the lake, how beautiful a lot of our natural resources are, the parks,” she said.

Fernandez said there are 10 questions on the survey, and the survey will end on July 12, giving her time to compile and digest the results for the next meeting of the Del Rio Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors on July 19.

“We’re heading into the budget cycle, and I want to be able to show that the citizens do want more growth. They want to see things develop more quickly, and if we’re understaffed and underfunded, it’s hard to get some of these things done,” Fernandez said.

Del Rioans can take the survey on the city’s web site, or on the city’s Facebook page.

She said there is an option to citizens to enter their email addresses to see that they’ve submitted, but Fernandez said the city will not be able to see that email address.

“I want people to feel completely comfortable in their responses. I want people to feel that they can be brutally honest. I think that’s important. We need to hear from our citizens, and they should be allowed the freedom to express their true opinions without fear or concern that someone will know what they said,” Fernandez said.

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