09/10/07 — Northern Wayne economic assessment public meeting preview

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Northern Wayne economic assessment public meeting preview

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 10, 2007 1:58 PM

Hoping to find a way to spur economic development in northern Wayne County, the Wayne County Development Alliance recently commissioned a community assessment study for Pikeville, Fremont, Eureka and the surrounding areas.

The results of that study, which was performed by Sanford Holshouser Business Development Group, will be released Tuesday at an open meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Pikeville Community Center, at 105 West School St.

It will be an opportunity for people to hear the results, as well as the group's recommendations.

The study, explained WCDA President Joanna Thompson, is the compilation of an objective analysis of the region's land, infrastructure and workforce. It also includes the opinions, concerns and goals of town administrators, elected officials and community leaders, as well as the results of a mail survey.

It was a project that had not only been on the Alliance's radar since the new U.S. 117 bypass was completed in early 2006, but one that the administrations of the three town had sought as well.

Ms. Thompson noted, though, that the completion of the study is just the first step in bringing greater economic development to the northern end of the county.

"Northern Wayne County is unique unto itself, and it has opportunities and challenges unique unto itself," she said. "That's why we did this study."

One significant opportunity for the area is the new bypass, but a limited infrastructure can be counted among the three towns' challenges. In many cases, Ms. Thompson continued, the region's opportunities might be enhanced by municipal cooperation.

"(Sanford Holshouser) will present the beginnings of an action plan of what they would recommend to the towns collectively and individually to begin to address," she said. "There are recommendations that are comprehensive and joint between all three towns, and some that are unique to each. But it's not going to be a magic bullet or a cure-all.

"It will be up to the towns and how they want to address these things. It's basically the first step. This will let the towns know here's where they are, here's where they'd like to be, and here's realistically what they can support. This will give them a road map."