04/20/09 — Fremont to create Web site

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Fremont to create Web site

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 20, 2009 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- Creating a Web site for the town of Fremont is one of the first steps to take to boost its economic development efforts, officials learned Saturday.

The Town Board of Alderman met with Eastern Carolina Council Executive Director Larry Moolenaar to discuss Fremont economic development outlook and opportunities. The construction of the new 795 bypass just west of town has led to much talk about the future of business development in the area.

Developing a Web site with details about the amenities the town has to offer, along with commercial properties and houses for sale, would be an inexpensive and effective way to bring attention to the town and surrounding area, Moolenaar said.

He told board members Fremont has much to offer people looking for small town atmosphere but the conveniences normally found in larger municipalities.

Fremont has restaurants, banks, a school, post office, drug store, hardware store, grocery store and other commercial ventures that can make it attractive to newcomers, he said. It also has a number of historic homes and a state historic site -- the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace -- nearby.

"You have easy access to a four-lane road," he added. "You have a quaint downtown. You have a state historic site nearby."

People might be passing through the town and might be interested in the area's real estate.

But if they wish to bring their home or business to Fremont, there is a big hindrance, Moolenaar pointed out.

"People don't know if buildings are for sale," he said.

And if people aren't aware of what real estate is available, or there isn't an easily readable telephone number for them to call to inquire about a property, then those people will likely never make the call, he noted.

A Web site listing what the town is doing to improve its infrastructure, along with properties available for sale or rent would give outsiders more reason to investigate the town as a possible location for a new business or a home, Moolenaar said. It also would help encourage current residents to be more involved in development, he said.

Another suggestion Moolenaar had was for the town to invest in some for-sale signs for available properties.

"You want to make it easier for people," Moolenaar said.

Board members agreed that a Web site is a good idea, and Moolenaar told the board the Eastern Carolina Council could help them set it up.

Town officials indicated some concern over the amount of time that would be involved in maintaining the Web site, but Moolenaar told them that it would not be too time-consuming. Most municipalities in Wayne County already have Web sites.

The ECC director also had some other ideas on how to help the town develop economically. Creating an attraction that visitors would consider a destination could boost tourism and help local retailers, he said. In other words, the town needs to have a place or place that will draw folks from other towns for a specific reason.

"People will get up on Saturdays and want to go places, like an antique shop," he said. "The idea is to get some of those people to stop, leave some money from their wallets and then go on."

With the Aycock Birthplace right down the road, Moolenaar said the town has a destination close by, but still needs to have something that will make people stop on Main Street.

Town officials need to create a strategy, he said, to encourage development of such destination stops.

"You need to find out -- what does everyone drive elsewhere to do?" he told the board. "Some communities do a survey, where they ask these questions to see where they are losing their money to other cities. We can help you do that survey."

The board agreed to move forward with the pursuit of a Web site as well as looking into buying for-sale signs for some of the available property in the downtown area.

The board plans also plans to hold another meeting in May with Moolenaar to further discuss economic development and a vision for the town.

The board's regular monthly meeting will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall.