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Partnerships equal success

MURFREESBORO – Howdy partner….that well-used phrase may become the rallying cry heard throughout Murfreesboro.

“Partnering for Murfreesboro” was the topic used by Town Administrator Cathy Davison as she served as the keynote speaker for the 56th annual Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce banquet held here March 11 at John’s Seafood & Steaks.

Davison’s remarks set the tone for what may prove as an exciting future for this historic town nestled on the banks of the Meherrin River.

“Murfreesboro has so much to offer. . .a strong history, a strong business base, it is home to a university, a wealth of volunteers, a dedicated Mayor and Town Council, along with dedicated and hardworking town employees and, most importantly, opportunity,” Davison noted. “This evening I would like to discuss that opportunity. . .the opportunity to partner and to form partnerships within our community.”

Davison spoke of existing partnerships the town has built over the years with entities such as the Mid-East Commission, North Carolina’s Northeast Commission, CONE (Chambers of the Northeast) and the Foundation of Renewal for Eastern North Carolina.

She said the Mid-East Commission is currently working with the Murfreesboro Town Council to move forward a strategic plan formulated at the council’s retreat in January as well as educating local boards and citizens on planning and community development principals.

“Because our chambers of commerce have a tremendous responsibility to our business members to provide information, services and opportunities to help them grow and thrive, the regional connection is vitally important as they look beyond their own borders for opportunities for their member businesses,” Davison said.

Meanwhile, she said Murfreesboro continues to move forward with being one of five communities chosen to be a part of the Creative Community Initiative,

coordinated by the Foundation of Renewal for Eastern North Carolina.

“This organization has allowed Murfreesboro to look down the road at the potential of offering wi-fi in our downtown business district as well as a summer music program,” Davison said.

She added that while membership and participation in these organizations are important to Murfreesboro, local partnerships hold a great significance for the community. Davison said from the council’s January retreat, a greater emphasis was placed on building stronger partnerships within the local community, particularly Chowan University, the Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Association.

“By the end of January, town council hosted a joint meeting with the town’s planning board, Chowan University, the chamber of commerce and the historical association,” Davison stated.

“Out of that meeting came the pledge of the council and the university to work together to have a hotel feasibility study conducted in hopes of attracting a hotel.”

She added that the town is also partnering with Chowan to expand the town’s recreation program as well as working to restore Riverside Park.

Murfreesboro residents can also become partners. Davison urged them to take part in “GO GREEN FOR MURFREESBORO” week (April 14).

“This week will focus on cleaning up Murfreesboro,” she said. “I urge all of our residents, businesses and organizations to adopt a street and clean it up.

Sign up sheets will be available at town hall.”

With the Creative Communities Initiative, the town has partnered with Murfreesboro’s Historical Association to present a summer music program called “Downtown Summer Sounds.” The premise behind this program is to come eat dinner downtown on a Thursday night and enjoy a free concert following dinner.

The music events will be every other Thursday on the lawn of the Roberts Vaughan House.

The first concert will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on June 12.

Davison also announced a partnership between the town and the chamber. Both parties have agreed to share a common website (www.townofmurfreesboro.com).

“In the world of economic development, a shared and partnered web presence will illustrate a unified relationship to potential residents and businesses looking to move, expand or even start their business in Murfreesboro,” Davison concluded.”

The traditional awards ceremony at the banquet also took on a veil of partnerships as four individuals were formally saluted for their respective parts in promoting Murfreesboro. Brinson Paul, retired director of the Jefcoat Museum, was given the Sammy Doughtie Community Service Award, presented by WDLZ-FM. Veteran Murfreesboro Town Councilman and local business owner Billy Theodorakis was presented the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Front Page Award. The husband and wife team of Hugh and Janet Vincent, longtime Murfreesboro residents and Historical Association volunteers, were the recipients of the Chamber of Commerce Award.

In his final remarks as Chamber President, Ray Felton said he was using the occasion to celebrate the successes of the town during 2007. He spoke of the Veterans Memorial, expansion to the town’s wastewater treatment facility and the great leadership by Davison in her new role of town administrator as well as the progress being made at Chowan University under the leadership of Dr. Chris White.

“There are a lot of great things happening in Murfreesboro and our future looks even brighter,” Felton said.

He also saluted business owners Jen Hodge (The Commons) and Herbert Lewis (Southern Health and Wellness) for the visions they have for the town.

Felton, who has served a two-year term, then handed the leadership role over to new Chamber President Dell Aycock.

Serving with Aycock will be John Hinton (Vice President), Joan Hunter (Secretary) and Debbie Edwards (Treasurer).

The Board of Directors include Felton, Hodge and Lewis along with Danny Blowe, Jimmy Eason, Tommy Forbes, William Hall, Rita Harrison, Lloyd Hill and Earl Telliga.