The future is now in Statesville as the city is asking citizens to weigh in on how it develops in the coming years. With the Statesville Land Development Plan 2045, the city is looking to hear where and what the city needs from those who work and live there.
Planning Director Sherry Ashley said that this is a chance for people to let their voices be heard when it comes to planning the city's future.
"Just some input about what they like and don't like about the city," Ashley said. "What they want their elected leaders to know what they want to see changed and improve the quality of life of the city."
One way people can do that is through an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/LDP45, but on Tuesday the Planning Board was set up at the Statesville Civic Center for a more personal approach with their Land Development Plan Workshop.
People could walk through and speak with Ashley and others about what they saw in Statesville's future. Several members of Clarion Associates, the consulting firm hired by the city, were there as well to help explain what land development means to every day citizens of Statesville.
"We hope the land use plan will serve as a guide to our elected officials to determine decision making," Ashley said. "It's how you project and determine future growth."
Ashley said it's important for the city to establish what certain land is used to allow residents and businesses to know what can go where. With that in place, landowners can plan for what might be coming in the future, like a city park, and businesses can research and plan where to locate to take advantage of how the city will develop in the coming years.
The last land-use plan was made by the city in 2004.
For citizens like Ben and Maria Thomas of Statesville who attended the event, they hope to get a better idea of what the city sees in its own future while they play their part in that plan as well. While planning for the future is often optimistic, both of them hope to see some of the current issues Statesville is dealing with addressed as well.
"I'd like to see more businesses," Ben said. "I've noticed a lot of business in the area closed up, and I'm wondering what's going on with that. And there are houses sitting around unmaintained, so I'm wondering what's going on with that also."
Some of their concerns didn't fully fall under the Planning Board, but they hoped the city took a holistic approach to improve areas of the city already developed.
"We want to be informed. We're new to Statesville so I'm happy they put something together like this, so this is a start for us."
Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook and Twitter at @BenGibsonSRL