Beaufort Redevelopment Commission mapping plan for 2013, beyond

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Beaufort Redevelopment Commission mapping plan for 2013, beyond

By ERIN MOODY
emoody@beaufortgazette.com
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013   |  456 Words  |  

Aiming to attract new investment to the city and spur projects already under way, Beaufort's Redevelopment Commission created a to-do list during its annual retreat this week.

The emphasis will be on following through with the plan.

"Let's do what we can to support projects where we've already invested time, effort and money," commission member Martin Goodman said.

Commission members met all day Tuesday to formulate a plan, and their chairman, Jon Verity, presented it to City Council on Wednesday. Using the city's civic master plan as a guide, the commission addressed dozens of possibilities that can be accomplished within a few years to a few decades. Those projects were grouped into tasks, with specific commission members assigned to complete them.

Geographically, the focus this year will be on the west end of downtown and the Beaufort Downtown Marina.

"We need to make downtown an attractive choice for people who would like to live in a walking community," commission member Alan Dechovitz said.

Boundary, Carteret and Bladen streets and the area around the University of South Carolina Beaufort are other spots where the commission intends to focus.

The commission also seeks to encourage housing construction and renovation, explore ways to create a high-end retirement community, and consider special tax districts.

Verity said cooperation with businesses can accomplish many of the goals.

"I think we're realizing the private-public infrastructure projects are key, because we don't have the money to spend ourselves," he said.

Commission members Wendy Zara and Mike McNally supported projects that offer, as McNally put it, "more bang for the buck." Those include sprucing up gateways to certain districts, especially in the areas where the commission will center its work.

Commission members also discussed hiring a full-time staff member, possibly supported by a part-time assistant. Their ideal candidate would have experience with marketing, commercial and residential real estate, and financial and legal issues, as well as be sensitive to community concerns.

Members did not discuss the salary for such an employee beyond saying it could be expensive. City manager Scott Dadson said staff intends to set aside a budget for continued work by the commission as the contract with engineering and architectural firm The Lawrence Group runs out in June 2014.

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  1. Beaufort City Council, Redevelopment Commission plan for growth, Feb. 9, 2012
  2. Improved communication a key concern at Beaufort City Council retreat, Feb. 8, 2011