City to diversify economic basePublished 4:41pm Monday, December 24, 2012
Diversification of the city’s existing economic base is a long-term goal of the draft comprehensive plan under review by city officials.
That step is one of three “action” steps recommended by the draft comprehensive plan. The other two are recruiting new businesses (medium-term goal) and review/adjust regulations and procedures to make city as business friendly as possible (short-term goal).
City staff, the City Council, the Planning Board and the pubic will have a say in what form those “action” steps will take and how they will be implemented. City official will have to determine how to pay for those steps.
The Planning Board is expected to play a major role in developing those “action” steps so they are complementary to other economic-development strategies and activities in the city.
A the Dec. 10 council meeting, Councilman Doug Mercer said he would like for the final version of the plan to focus more on developing other areas of the city. He said the draft plan seems to place more importance on the downtown/waterfront area. He said corridors such as 15th Street and U.S. Highway 264 need attention because that’s where much growth will occur. Mercer said
The draft plan — “Pride in the Past, Faith in the Future” — lists three initiatives that should be pursued first. They are supporting efforts to promote the downtown/waterfront areas; actions that are feasible, inexpensive and relatively easy to complete quickly and new opportunities to implement and pursue medium- and long-range ideas.
The 2030 plan was prepared to “articulate a vision for the community’s future and a road map for how to achieve that future,” reads the draft plan’s preface. The draft plan is organized around five major themes — downtown and the waterfront, economic development, community appearance, historic preservation and tourism, including eco-tourism.
Before it can be approved, a public hearing on the draft comprehensive plan will have to be conducted.