Plan moves Windsor forward

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2007

WINDSOR – &uot;You have a really good chance to move forward.&uot;

Those were the words of Bianca Gentile of the NC Division of Community Assistance after she presented the new strategic plan for the Town of Windsor to its Board of Commissioners last Thursday (July 12).

One of the six major goals of the new five-year plan is to increase employment opportunities for Windsor residents.

To do that, the plan calls for increasing use of the &uot;Downtown Outside Revitalization Program,&uot; which is a grant program that helps the appearance of businesses downtown.

Infrastructure expansion is also supposed to be looked at in order to attract and retain more businesses.

The town is also to partner with Joblink and expand services to the potential workforce.

They will continue to partner with Martin Community College-Bertie Campus to offer educational opportunities on business start up, marketing, financing, and tax obligations, according to the executive summary of the plan.

Another goal of the plan is to increase tourism to the Town of Windsor.

In order to do that, the plan calls for promoting the zoo and nature trail with new signage and developing a website for the town.

One major change the plan calls for is changing local laws to allow small establishments to sell liquor by the drink.

Windsor currently only allows restaurants to sell beer and wine.

A third goal of the plan is to preserve the town’s cultural history and architectural heritage.

To reach that objective, the town must first explore the possibility of expanding the historic district on a spot-by-spot basis, and strengthen the historic district ordinance, since currently there are no design guidelines.

The historic commission is to be reviewed and training will be hosted to advance restoration efforts.

&uot;We’d like to be able to find programs that would help people who own some of these old historic homes but can’t afford to restore them,&uot; Gentile stated.

Historic, cultural and tourism assets will be cataloged online.

The plan also calls for the community to be educated on the importance of historic preservation.

Success stories will be highlighted by creating pamphlets and seminars are to be hosted on the subject.

Itineraries are also supposed to be created that can be used by either school children or adults highlighting &uot;Things to do on a day trip to Windsor.

Yet another goal of the plan is to improve race and ethnic relations in the community be implementing a human relations council.

&uot;The goal of the council will be to foster an atmosphere of constructive public dialogue, understanding and participation and to advance their identity as an incorporated township,&uot; the plan reads.

The council is also to increase the desire for change by promoting the value of community growth, and increasing access to success stories.

The fifth goal is to promote opportunities for waterfront development.

To do that, the Town is to encourage private development by working with the economic development commission of Bertie County.

They are also to develop land use management tools that support a mix of residential and commercial uses along the waterfront, and expand the museum’s physical space to allow for growth in the adult and youth educational program curriculum.

The final goal is to forecast the capital needs, such as fire and police needs, water/sewer infrastructure, electricity, and the budgeting of high priority projects or improvements.

To achieve that goal, the town is supposed to design and implement a capital improvement plan.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the plan and begin work on its suggestions immediately.