“We tend to focus on the savings,” Felts said.
City Manager Jerry Blaisdell said there is a chance to maintain the historical identity of the town and absorb the fast growth going on right now with some good planning.
“A lot of cities in the area have grown and been unable to keep what got them there in the first place,” Blaisdell said. “This is our chance to get it right.”
Swancy said he envisions a time where cars are heading here much “like Fredericksburg on any weekend,” in the future. Hooks said having a citizens’ survey and asking them for opinions could be done as part of the Strategic Plan process. “We need to try and think forward, more outside of the box,” Hooks said.
Promotion of First Monday Trade Days, Chandor Gardens and other city entities OFFERS a huge opportunity for growth. Blaisdell said expansion and promotion of the Farmers Market and use of the First Monday Trade Days Park for outdoor concert or convention space would also be beneficial.
Upgrading standards on roads and utility infrastructure is important to maintain growth prudently in the eyes of Swancy.
“The standards we used 20 years ago don’t apply today because of all the growth,” Swancy said.
Doing everything that needs to be done and keeping cost of living under control in the city Is seen as a threat by Hooks. Losing identifiable green space and the city’s unique identity because of development from the east is also a threat.
The city is also in need of a new comprehensive plan, which is 13 years old, Swancy said.
Overall, city officials said becoming more proactive instead of reactive is important if the city wants to grow and still maintain its identity.
After the analysis, council and staff members evaluated all the ideas and ranked what they considered the biggest needs. Wieder said he would need about a month to go over the data, which he would then present at a future council meeting.