The Huntersville town board last week unanimously adopted a plan to guide the town’s economic development for the next 10-15 years, though it likely will be months before the next steps are formulated.
The “Strategic Economic Development Plan” makes a number of short- and long-term recommendations, such as preserving nonresidentially zoned land for other types of development to help diversify the town’s tax base, particularly in areas along the Red Line Rail project, should that transit proposal come to fruition.
The plan also suggests making the revitalization of downtown an “economic development priority,” and encouraged the town to create a business incubator and business mentorship program to help entrepreneurial development, among other recommendations.
The plan was created by RKG Associates, a Virginia-based company that has provided similar recommendations for towns such as Durham, Roswell, Ga.; Blacksburg, Va.; Annapolis, Md.; and others.
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RKG was hired in November 2013 to study the town’s growth, demographics and other factors; make recommendations and identify challenges; as well was address job creation and nonresidential tax-base expansion.
The motion approved by the board also gave Town Manager Greg Ferguson the task of creating action steps to implement the plan. He will present them to the board in February.
Zac Gordon, a principal planner for the town, called the newly adopted plan a blueprint for the town – as well as the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp. – as to which types of industries to pursue, where to promote new development and make investment decisions.
“This is an economic development plan really focused on employment and … how the town can maximize its resources,” Gordon said.
“It’s not focused on retail, it’s not focused on residential, but economic development, i.e. tax-generating land uses.”