There were around 40 participants at community input session held last Tuesday by the town of Yadkinville. In August, the town began a nearly year-long process to complete a Comprehensive Plan. Since that time, the town’s staff and Long-Range Planning Committee have been working with Benchmark Planning, a full-service planning and design firm, to compile background information and identify key issues.
The plan will pull together all of the relevant implementation strategies from previous plans into one comprehensive document, while including public input on the desired future of Yadkinville as a whole.
“Public input is crucial to guide the town’s future decision-making and generate buy-in to help ensure that the plan is implemented over time,” said Erin Burris, project planner with Benchmark.
At the Nov. 15 workshop, participants put a pin on the map of where they live or own property and gave input at seven stations representing the categories of Community Identity and Character, Land Use and Growth Management, Economic Development, Transportation, Services and Infrastructure, Parks and Recreation, and Downtown.
“Each station provided background maps and information, as applicable, and had a series of four strategies that were compiled from previously adopted plans,” said Burris.
Participants were given different colored poker chips to place in jars for the strategies that they felt were most important. They were given five white chips (worth one point each), two blue chips (worth two points) each, and one red chip (worth three points each). This exercise encouraged participants to prioritize improvements that the town has already made a commitment to pursue through the adoption of plans in years past. Participants also had the opportunity to propose new strategies for each category.
Additionally, there was a photo booth in which participants had the option to have their photo taken with their handwritten notes showing what they love about Yadkinville and what they want Yadkinville to be in the future.
Burris said the categories that received the most attention were economic development and downtown.
“The top four strategies identified were:
1. Encourage new industry and business to locate in areas already served by adequate infrastructure and continue to plan for improvements to actively recruit industry and businesses.
2. Conduct a market study to identify and recruit retail businesses that would be successful in Yadkinville.
3. In downtown, provide streetscape enhancements including improved sidewalks, crosswalks, and street trees as shown in the Downtown Master Conceptual Plan.
4. Adopt ordinances and policies to improve the appearance of downtown including design standards, building maintenance codes, active storefront requirements, and façade grants.”
“The Community Planning Workshop was a success,” said Mayor Eddie Norman. “The actual workshop was well planned by our town staff, and the response from the community was outstanding. The format allowed for individuals to select their preferences regarding the town’s options as it relates to growth and development. Our objective is to take away the key points and devise a successful game plan to attack the identified areas of redevelopment and growth. This process will be lengthy as we want to make sure that we are firm in our path of growth, and that we can support the objectives financially.
“As an example, it was really exciting to see that the downtown area was one of the most critical areas for redevelopment. This type of objective will require the town of Yadkinville to seek out individuals and small businesses that are willing to invest in our future, and hopefully we can establish a partnership with these individuals to ensure that they succeed. Our approach will be relentless and sustainable as we continue to move forward.”
Information about the Comprehensive Plan process can be obtained by visiting the town’s website at www.yadkinville.org or by contacting Will Linville via phone at 336- 679-8732 or by emailing email@example.com. A survey is also available online.
“The time period to complete the public input survey will end on Monday, Nov. 28. So far, we have over 250 surveys, which shows a great level of participation,” Burris said. “We are grateful to everyone who has been involved to date. It is obvious that the citizens of Yadkinville really care about their community.
“We will be producing a public input report in December to review with the Long-Range Planning Committee. This report, along with the background information report, will become part of the Comprehensive Plan document and help to formulate the final goals and strategies for the plan. We anticipate draft plan goals and strategies being prepared by late February with an additional opportunity for public feedback in the early spring.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.