Year-round Islanders love downtown Oak Bluffs as a go-to place, but they think the buildings could use some sprucing up.

This was one theme to emerge from the early results of a survey that went out this summer as part of a streetscape master plan for Oak Bluffs.

The project went out to bid in January with the goal of revitalizing the downtown and improving public infrastructure. The Horsley Witten Group, a planning and design company on Cape Cod, won the bid and has been working with a new town committee to drum up public participation.

A preliminary report released earlier this month identifies areas of improvement for the downtown area and offers some suggestions for touch-ups the town might perform to improve the visitor experience.

Much of the report is drawn from a survey done near the end of the summer. The majority of the 542 survey respondents identified themselves as year-round residents of the Vineyard. Respondents said they get around the Island primarily by car, but tend to walk or drive and park to get to downtown Oak Bluffs.

In general, survey respondents said they are most concerned with building aesthetics, an aspect of downtown they identified as their first priority for improvement. In an inventory of buildings taken last winter, 49 per cent of the 93 buildings in the town received an overall rating of fair to poor, meeting the criteria for slums and blight.

Respondents also said they’d like to see improvements made to the historic character of the town and to parking opportunities.

Business owners, who were polled separately, ranked availability of parking highest among factors that affect their customers.

The outreach effort, led by the downtown streetscape planning committee, has extended to social media, where more than 1,300 people have joined a Facebook page dedicated to the project. The committee updates the page regularly and has used the online forum to canvass the public. So far, the process has identified several areas of improvement for the downtown, including cleanliness, crowding and sidewalks on Circuit avenue.

The preliminary report concludes with a list of suggestions tailored to Oak Bluffs. They include back-in-angle parking for Circuit avenue and ideas for improving the pedestrian experience, including widening the sidewalks and introducing public art projects.

“There is some really great stuff in there and already things the committee is already thinking will not work for Oak Bluffs,” said Brian Packish, chairman of the streetscape committee.

At a meeting of the town selectmen last week, Mr. Packish emphasized that the report was not final.

“There isn’t one idea carved in stone,” he said.

Consultants with ConsultEcon Inc. have also worked to sketch a profile of downtown businesses and their customers. They found that stores selling primarily clothing and accessories make up 24 per cent of the town’s businesses, while restaurants account for 18 per cent. Food stores make up 12 per cent of the businesses, while gift shops are 11 per cent and personal services and transportation each make up 10 per cent. The remaining businesses are inns and other retail establishments. Overall, retail stores make up half of the town’s businesses, according to the report.

And potential customers for these businesses are not scarce, consultants found. They estimated that Oak Bluffs serves 25 per cent of the passengers reaching the Island on Steamship Authority ferries; about 500,000 passenger trips come through its harbor. The town also has 331 hotel rooms, about a third of the total number of rooms on the Island.

In a related initiative, the streetscape committee organized a volunteer cleanup of the downtown area last Thursday. About 16 people turned out, rakes and dustpans at the ready.

Mr. Packish said the experience revealed the poor condition of the sidewalks downtown, which are cracked and uneven and difficult to clean. While they received mostly positive support for the effort, some members of the public felt cleaning should be left to town employees.

“We tried to stress to people that we recognize we have town departments, but that because of budget cuts, everything is running kind of lean,” Mr. Packish said.

A second clean-up effort is planned for Wednesday at 5 p.m. The group will convene at the information booth. The streetscape committee meets weekly at the town library. Details are on the town website.