02/22/05 — Pikeville workshop identifies priorities for growth and development

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Pikeville workshop identifies priorities for growth and development

By Turner Walston
Published in News on February 22, 2005 2:28 PM

The town of Pikeville held a workshop for growth and development Monday evening at the town hall. Mayor Herb Sieger presided over the meeting, which was intended to help identify priorities for the town's leaders.

A presentation by Judy Hills of the Eastern Carolina Council of Governments initiated the brainstorming session. Her organization helps communities leverage their resources and cooperate locally as well as regionally.

Hills encouraged the town Board of Commissioners to develop a common vision for the future of Pikeville. She explained that technology, innovation, productivity, and competitiveness are driving the new economy.

Hills also offered new strategies for the town of Pikeville. She suggested the town position itself for the future by finding opportunities to cooperate with the region. Hills also pointed out that Pikeville has a growing population of residents 65 and older, and the town ought to be planning ways to provide for their needs.

Economic development has four major components, Hills said: leadership and planning, community development, product, and marketing. She said the town advertise itself on highway signs so that drivers entering the town would feel welcome.

After hearing Hills' presentation, the board discussed ideas to promote the town. It was decided that the board should consider annexation. Possible areas for town expansion are Pikeville-Princeton road, Big Daddy's Road, the area around the Food Lion grocery store and Smith Heights.

The commissioners agreed that the first step in the process of attracting residents and businesses is improving the town's infrastructure. That means finishing the sewer and upgrading the electrical systems, Mayor Herb Sieger said.

The mayor also suggested that Pikeville would be a good stopping place for travelers when the new U.S. 70 bypass west of town is finished.

"We've got to have something to entice people and their families and friends," he said, adding that a restaurant like Cracker Barrel just off the highway would be ideal.

Johnny Weaver suggested Pikeville make more of an investment in recreation.

"We really don't make it easy on someone that wants to coach a team," he said. Weaver said he believes that the town should take over the operation of the Parks and Recreation Department and not rely on volunteers. He said having a well-maintained baseball field would allow the town to host regional sporting events.

"If you don't do something for youth, you're not going to attract young families," Weaver said.

Edith McClenny proposed that the town adopt a senior care program, through which a police officer would check on senior citizens from time to time. Board members agreed that such a program would give seniors and their families more peace of mind.

Police Chief Ken Barrett said that the town would need another full-time officer if annexation takes place. The police department would then consider expanding resources within the town, he said.

With the new sewage plant on the way, and annexation a possibility, board members said they may need to hire more office employees for the town hall.

Board members also said they are considering implementing a Global Information System for the town's infrastructure. Such a system would help speed response to police calls, problems with the sewer and water systems and electrical problems, they said.