ALBANY PARK — How often are Albany Park residents leaving the neighborhood to dine out, grab a pint at a pub or check out a new band? And how much money are they taking with them?
That's what a new survey, launched by the community group Albany Park Neighbors, aims to find out.
Among the questions asked:
•"What types of food do you leave the neighborhood to find?"
•"To what neighborhoods do you regularly travel to go out for drinks and/or dancing?"
•"In Albany Park, what major intersections would you be most likely to walk to for these activities?"
The entertainment and culture survey is the first in a series planned by APN's business development and enrichment committee, according to member Eric Filson, who's received 100 completed questionnaires since the survey was posted to APN's Facebook page March 13.
The group's intent is two-pronged, he said.
One is to compile the survey results into an information packet that can be presented to existing business owners in order to demonstrate missed opportunities. If the survey indicates that residents consistently leave the neighborhood in search of Mexican food, when there's a Mexican restaurant within walking distance, APN can use this information to help the business owner refine his marketing.
"For example, the Modelo Club has fantastic food, their food is wonderful. But the perception is that this is not a dining destination," said Filson.
The other prong, he said, is to use the information to develop a plan to fill vacant storefronts, particularly on Lawrence Avenue. APN will use the survey results to approach entrepreneurs to give them data on what types of businesses local residents are interested in.
"We have people who live in the neighborhood who run successful businesses elsewhere in the city and nobody has made a business case to them for opening a business in Albany Park," said Filson.
With the survey, "We should be able to say, 'We have 40 people looking for a neighborhood pub and they've identified Central Park and Lawrence as within walking distance,'" he said.
"It's certainly an experiment," Filson said. "We're putting the seed in people's minds that Albany Park is a good place to do business and hopefully something will sprout."
Though the survey will remain open for an indeterminate time, those who respond by April 19 will be entered in a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to Golden Crust Pizza.
While Albany Park Neighbors is primarily focused on the area within Pulaski Road, Kedzie, Foster and Montrose avenues, people who live adjacent to those boundaries are also encouraged to participate in the survey.
Said Filson, "If you would walk or take a train to Albany Park, fill it out."
Click here to access the survey.