Hiring downtown planner is priority for Town Council

Feb. 12, 2013 @ 06:47 AM

Hiring a  town planner/downtown coordinator was among the priorities discussed recently by Rutherfordton Town Council. 

In a Saturday morning workshop setting, council voted on some of the most pertinent issues facing the town and how to address some of the needs. The town's staff and department heads also attended the workshop, but town council voted on the actual priorities. 

Council discussed the need of a trained/experienced planner as the town progresses toward the US 221 Bypass that will radically change the entrances into Rutherfordton.

Construction on the plan is expected to begin in 2021 and the town has said it must be be proactive in its plans looking forward.

Council will look at special location impacts of the corridor plan and its future.

The Bechtler House and the expiration of the one-year lease on the house during the town's 225th anniversary celebration was discussed. The agreement with the town expires at the end of February. 

Inside the Bechtler House, off West 6th Street, is memorabilia of the history of the Bechtler mint and the family. The  Bechtler coin press that was brought to Rutherfordton last fall, on loan for five-years by the American Numismatic Society, is also located inside the house.

Council hasn't taken any action regarding the future of the house. 

Also addressed at the workshop were the special attributes of the town including: a walkable community, historic area, its vounteers and  project supporters, location, quality of life, low crime and cost of living, good neighbors, located in the countyseat and also the hospital in the town limits.

Positive images outlined included KidSenses children's museum, an active Main Street, new economic development corridor driven by the US 221 Bypass, home ownership, parks and recreation - active use; gateways, architectural integrity, fesitives and events, family friendly accomodations and walkable/connected neighborhoods.

Negative impacts on the town include vacant buildings, streets with pot holes, deteriorated homes and neighborhoods, lack of visitor-friendly signs, proper signs on town buildings and overhead utility lines.

Other priorities discussed was a focus on town employees, their roles, performances, recognition, compensation, post retirement and insurance; vehicle/large equipment replacement policy; library expansion and the limited parking at the library; cleaning up back streets, active use of the town's Parks and Recreation areas and a walking area on Mountain Street.