S.P. 'Vision' Session on Plan Thursday
Southern Pines residents will get their first chance Thursday to have input on the town's long-range plan.
The town will hold a "vision workshop" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Southern Pines Recreation Center, also known as the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills. It is open to the public.
"What we're proposing to do is work with the community at roughing out a vision statement," said Bill Grimes, principal of Studio Cascade, the firm hired to guide the town through the long-range planning process.
Organizers are expecting as many as 250 residents will attend. They will hear a short presentation from Grimes and then break up into roundtable discussions to offer individual input into the town's future.
"It's going to actively involve all those attending," Grimes said. "We're expecting to take the full two hours."
With so many expected, Studio Cascade moved the meeting from the Douglass Center, where the Town Council holds its meetings, to the Recreation Center gym.
"They've got a large gym there," Grimes said. "If we get more, that's great. We'll figure out how to make it work. If we get less, we'll make it work."
Mayor Mike Haney said he hopes for a full house.
"The success of this process is predicated on the involvement of the town," he said. "Participation is very important during this whole comprehensive long-range plan process for it to be all we think it can be."
The Long-range Steering Committee will meet Friday to go over the public-generated ideas.
"Hopefully, they'll have hundreds and hundreds of comments," Grimes said.
Also during that meeting, the committee is likely to elect a chairman.
The town sent out post cards to all water customers asking them to attend. All town residents and those living within the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction are invited to attend.
Grimes will ask participants to discuss and list issues and opportunities faced by the town, both current and future concerns. The plan will be designed to have a 20-year horizon.
He plans to bring up multiple topics to facilitate discussion on the full range of issues the plan will likely address. All written comments will be transcribed and included in work to develop a community vision, a broad-brush statement that will guide formation of goals and policies in the draft plan.
Other community workshops will take place early next year and will continue through the spring. Following a summer break, one or two additional workshops will help complete the draft plan, slated for delivery in September 2009.
"I'm excited about what this can mean for the town," Haney said.
Residents interested in receiving future e-mail or postal mail notices should submit addresses at the project Web site at: www.southernpines.studiocascade.com
Residents are also encouraged to visit the project "Drop-In Center" at 161 E. New Hampshire Ave.
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at moriarty @thepilot.com.
More like this story