City continuing work on long-term future growth plan

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

The City of Greenville continues work on a long-term comprehensive growth plan that will analyze growth trends and give the city information it needs to make future decisions on where and how to grow retail, industrial and residential communities.

With the help of a $50,000 community development block grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), the city has employed strategic planners from the South Central Alabama Development Commission to help craft the plan, which will look 20 to 25 years into the future of the city.

&#8220The plan will kick off quietly in April with an inventory process and then the information will be presented to the Greenville Planning Commission and a steering committee to look at the data,” said Tracy Delaney, who is spearheading the comprehensive plan for the city.

Delaney said the steering committee members would be appointed by the mayor and council and would also include members of the planning commission.

The final plan would have to be adopted by the planning commission and presented to the city council for approval.

Delaney presented the details of the process at the regular planning commission meeting this month, and told members that the plan was &#8220not the planning commission's plan or the mayor and council's plan, but the city's plan.”

In that vein, Delaney, who has helped the cities of Prattville, Wetumpka and Tuskegee with comprehensive planning, said citizens would have an opportunity to give their input on the process at two public meetings, the first of which is to be held in November. During her presentation, she said Greenville is on the verge of dramatic growth due to the expansion of existing industry and automobile parts suppliers, but that it was important that the city retain the elements that make Greenville what it is. She said the city had also requested to include elements of the Butler County Board of Education's strategic plan, which is being developed now, into the city's comprehensive plan.

&#8220Having that public comment is vital to the long-term success of the plan,” Delaney said.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon agrees.

&#8220We want to hear what everybody else has to say on this. The whole community needs to be involved,” McLendon said, prior to the planning commission's meeting. &#8220Tracy is going to help us point out what our strengths and weaknesses are. There are some areas we are strong in and some we're not, which is common of towns our size.”

Planning commission member Leander Robinson agreed that a plan to manage growth was needed, but that it should focus on what's best for citizens.

&#8220My bottom line is it isn't about structures, it's about the people,” he said.

In other planning commission business city planner Eddie Anderson noted that the new Marvin's home center was open and that Willow Point shopping center, located in front of Wal-Mart, was well under way.

Planning commission member Vernon Stabler said he was not pleased with the aesthetics of Marvin's lumber shed.

&#8220Somebody needs to be on the line with (Marvin's) and let them know it needs to be made into a more pleasing structure,” he said. &#8220It's not even built well.”

Chairman Richard Branum said he would contact Marvin's to see what could be done.

Branum also said plans are in the works to locate a Dollar General &#8220on Highway 10, just past the county courthouse,” but Robert Bowling, who was identified as the developer, has not submitted the full plans to the commission yet.