Grovetown city officials agreed Monday to form a committee that will attempt to implement some of the suggestions in the city's updated Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.
The goal of the newly created Grovetown Economic Development Study Committee is to form a 10-year economic plan for the city, meshing with the preliminary goals of the comprehensive plan update.
Grovetown City Councilman Dick Manion, who was instrumental in forming the committee, said it will be divided into two groups - the Wrightsboro Group, which will focus on building the Wrightsboro Road corridor into a business center; and the Robinson Group, which will focus on historic preservation in the city.
The goals are among those listed in the comprehensive plan's short-term work program. The committee's formation is a step in accomplishing those goals, even though the plan and the committee were developed separately, said Christian Lentz, the director of planning for the CSRA Regional Development Center.
"There are many communities that you work very diligently in preparing the (comprehensive) plan for them and nothing tends to happen with the plan," Lentz said. "Then there are other communities who are proactive in trying to implement the plan and make sure their policies are tied directly to that plan. It sounds like that may be the case in Grovetown."
The final open house to solicit public input on the plan was held Tuesday. Lentz said the plan will be revised based on residents' comments before the final version - the Community Agenda portion - is brought before the city council for approval, likely in November.
The plan's three parts, the Community Assessment, Community Participation and Community Agenda, will then go to the development center and state Department of Community Affairs for a 60-day review before final adoption by city council, which will likely take place in January or February, Lentz said.
Manion said he hopes the committee will build both business and tourism in the city. The Wrightsboro Group, he said, is looking to start a Grovetown Merchants Association and actively seek out more businesses and light industry.
"Instead of waiting for somebody to come to us, we go to them," Manion said.
Manion said he specifically would like to see more sit-down restaurants, clothing stores and hardware stores, which residents have cited as top priorities.
"Georgia Tech has done a study that shows that if you rely too heavily on just residential growth, it can be an awful burden on local government," Manion said. "That's why you need to bring in some business. The first thing we thought is to get things that are absolutely essential to Grovetown."
The Robinson Group will look to identify a historic district within the city. The district will likely include most of Robinson Avenue and a few separate properties, Manion said.
"I'm excited," said Sylvia Martin, a Grovetown historian and co-chairwoman of the new Historic Preservation Committee. "This is something I've wanted to see done for a long, long time."
The historic preservation effort will identify and protect historic properties, similar to the process that neighboring city Harlem has nearly completed.
The committee is still forming and not all its members have been appointed. But Manion said he hopes to hold a meeting in mid-December to disseminate information about the committee to the public and possibly recruit more members.
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