Pinehurst Council Designates Downtown Point Person
The Pinehurst Village Council has tapped Natalie Dean as the point person to handle downtown development issues.
Dean and Jeff Batton, both assistant village managers, had been appointed to handle the duties of a downtown manager by the council during a meeting last month.
During a work session Thursday, Councilman Doug Lapins voiced concern that things could bog down without someone in charge. Lapins said he couldn’t support a “fragmented approach” to managing the downtown.
“We can’t have [Village Manager Andy Wilkison] working on this, and Natalie [Dean] working on this,” Lapins said.
Lapins said he didn’t want the village to hire a someone to serve as a downtown manager, and the rest of the council agreed.
Council member Nancy Fiorillo said the proposal to have Dean and Batton share the downtown manager duties was made because it was cost effective.
“We have to be clear,” Fiorillo said. “Hiring a downtown manager is going to cost money.”
After a brief discussion, the council agreed on allowing Dean to be in charge of the downtown issue.
In September, representatives from the North Carolina Downtown Development Association presented 21 recommendations on ways to improve and revitalize downtown. Chief among them was the appointment of a downtown manager.
Rather than spend money on hiring someone for that position, the Village Council decided to split the duties between Batton and Dean. Batton was to handle facilties and infrastructure issues, while Dean would handle the business community and public relations.
Lapins raised concerns about the dual arrangement during that earlier meeting.
On Thursday, Dean said she didn’t think the proposal to share the duties was anything other than an attempt to utilize the strengths of Dean, Batton and Wilkison.
“I think the proposal was to say the three of us have different strengths and that is what makes us a good management team, and this proposal was to play to those strengths,” Dean said.
The council said it 0would support her in whatever way she needed.
“I say give her the reins and let her take off with it,” Mark Parson said. “It’s in her DNA.”
In August, three representatives from the North Carolina Downtown Development Association spent three days in the village touring the downtown and listening to various stakeholders to gather information for a report with recommendations on improving the economic vitality and enhancing downtown.
Recommendations included developing a brand or marketing identity for the village center, initiating a parking study, prioritizing rehabilitation of the sand parking lot and capitalizing on the village’s National Historic Landmark status.
Representatives also stressed that organization was a key to success, saying that if the proper structure is not in place, the downtown would struggle to evolve and thrive.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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