03/29/06 — Councilmen set city's priority list for 2006

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Councilmen set city's priority list for 2006

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 29, 2006 1:47 PM

Goldsboro City Council members have set their priorities -- and now they are setting their sights on technology upgrades, downtown development and several building projects.

Among the building projects listed at the council's recent retreat, three stood out as high-priority -- Stoney Creek Park, the three-phase City Hall project and construction of a recreation or community center.

But for Councilman Bob Waller, technology was high on his personal list of goals to include in the city's 10-year plan.

"We need to bring in new technology and software," he said. "Our guys in inspections and planning need to be up-to-date with other cities. So it's very important that we do that."

Since the retreat, council has already begun the first steps to an upgrade.

At their March 20 meeting, council members approved a request from Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra that adds a technology fee to all permits issued by the city. The revenue, they hope, will pay for hardware and software upgrades.

Councilman Chuck Allen said the upgrades have been put on the city's short list.

"We really recognize that we're behind," Allen said. "That's why the need to upgrade our technology is a high priority."

For other council members, the recently revealed Comprehensive Historic Neighborhood Revitaliza-tion Plan is an undertaking that will jump-start a beautification downtown and help businesses succeed.

But for Councilman Jackie Warrick, talking about fixing downtown is not enough, unless council is willing to address the issues that have created the conditions.

He said to make the downtown dream a reality, council will have to get involved in some rezoning issues.

"When I ran for office I had two main goals," he said. "The first was to get a good city manager in here, and we have done that. We've got one that's second to none. The other was to go into areas that are zoned for multiple family dwellings and changing them back to single family."

Warrick added that rezoning is one of the first steps in making the downtown plan work. Homes occupied by one family, versus three, four or five, will be better-maintained, he said, and more attractive to residents and visitors.

"I want to see this town get cleaned up," he said. "And it all starts in those neighborhoods downtown."

The larger, more expensive projects are just as important to council. In fact, completion of the three-phase City Hall project topped the council's "to do" list.

"City Hall needs to be the No. 1 priority because we're already in it," Allen said. "We need to see this thing through."

But other projects are just as critical, he said, like the community or recreation center.

"I think the community building is the most doable project that has the most support from the community," Allen said. "It's going to serve a lot of people, and we hope to bring in partners who can use it also."

And steps have already been taken to ensure work is being done on the project. At their March 20 meeting, council members voted to finance a comprehensive survey of the land they hope to use for the new building -- between Spruce and Elm streets at the south end of Center Street.

But Allen said with so many great projects on the minds of city leaders, action on a few is more important than a bunch of great ideas not in motion.

"I think we've got a lot of great ideas and projects and I am excited about all of them," Allen said. "I just like to see things get done. So whichever project is the most doable, let's go do it."