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Bladenboro working to create Five Year Economic Development Strategic Plan

By Erin Smith

 

Economic Development took center stage in Bladenboro on Thursday night as a group of 30 citizens gathered together to work on creating a Five Year Economic Development Strategic Plan for the town.

As part of the process of creating the Strategic Plan, the town is conducting a survey to receive input from the town’s residents. You can click the link to complete the survey: http://survey.nccommerce.com/TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=31Mm76314pm3G The information from Thursday’s meeting along with the replies to the survey, will be compiled and used to create a Five Year Strategic Plan.

 

Town Administrator John O’Daniel said Thursday’s session included a SWOT analysis. The purpose fo the SWOT analysis is to help in identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 

The group in attendance offered ideas and identified areas where they felt the town could improve. The strengths that were highlighted included a strong sense of community and the willingness to support each other. Weaknesses which were discussed included a lack of retail establishments and the loss fo students once they leave to attend college.

 

The group identified opportunities as completing McLean Park and repairing Wateree Park. The threats to the community and its growth were identified as drainage issues, hurricanes and associated flooding. “There is only so much you can do. You can’t prevent it (a storm) from coming,” said O’Daniel.

 

Boost the Boro’s Don White Jr. said many residents want to know why McLean Park is still unfinished and unusable because it is not completed.

White added vacant, dilapidated and unkept buildings were an issue mentioned by many as a concern. He said this can be a threat to the community’s growth.

 

White said the lack of involvement from the leadership was listed as a concern. He said many folks said they would like to see a more pro-active rather than re-active approach from the town’s leadership when it comes to growth.

 

By far the greatest threat identified was the need for more recruitment of jobs to the community, said White.

 

O’ Daniel said the strategic plan, once completed, will assist the town when applying for certain types of grants. Certain agencies and groups award points to grant applications that include documents such as strategic plans in their application packets.

 

The group is hoping to have a completed plan in the near future. “The goal is to have a plan ready to submit to the board by next year for their approval,” said O’Daniel.

 

O’Daniel said the strategic plan will give the board a framework of what needs to be done. “It will be up to the town to work with Boost the ‘Boro and other agencies to reach and achieve the goals in the document,” said O’Daniel.

As part of the process of creating the Strategic Plan, the town is conducting a survey to receive input from the town’s residents. You can click the link to complete the survey: http://survey.nccommerce.com/TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=31Mm76314pm3G The information from Thursday’s meeting along with the replies to the survey, will be compiled and used to create a Five Year Strategic Plan.

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