City to diversify economic base

Published 4:41 pm 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.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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