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News Review
Economic Development Strategic Plan Results
Posted Date: 7/5/2018

On TargetThe City of Lexington wants to share its Economic Development Strategic Plan with the public. The plan was adopted by City Council at its June 25, 2018 meeting. Creative Economic Development Consulting presented the plan following a series of community input sessions that included setting up a steering committee, conducting several small group interviews with citizens, holding a community focus group session and gathering surveys from the public. The information was pulled together to assemble a SWOT Analysis and a series of goals and steps for achieving those goals.


The City was happy to learn that many of the recommendations were for things it had already started working on, such as the design and development of a Skate/BMX Park, the recruitment of big businesses like Egger Group and Chick-fil-A and the addition of a new hotel (Hampton Inn announced plans to build next to the Lidl at the corner of Fritts St. and Fairview Drive). City Manager Alan Carson said it was surprising to see that the City was so in tune with the community. "It was almost hand in glove, and you don't typically see that," said Carson.

Even though the consultant told the city to "keep doing what you have been doing", there are still some new areas to explore. One of the goals in the study is to support innovation in education and workforce development, and a strategy for doing that is to recruit a satellite campus of higher education to Uptown. Carson explained that he would be interested in seeing whether Catawba College or UNC-Charlotte may be interested in something like that. The cities of Albemarle and Hendersonville were mentioned as areas where satellite campuses have been particularly successful. 


Another goal is to recruit and retain businesses. The City of Lexington is dedicated to giving businesses and entrepreneurs the assistance and support necessary. Carson explained that the City currently keeps close tabs on key accounts to find out what works and doesn't work for them. He also mentioned that the City will be taking a closer look at its one-stop-shop business model available at Business and Community Development.


The Economic Development Strategic Plan is a plan for the entire city and Carson encourages everyone to look it over and embrace the ideas as a way to move forward. The City also wants to thank everyone who completed a survey or participated in one or more of the community input sessions.


The plan was sponsored by ElectriCities. You can read the plan in its entirety here.  


GOALS, STRATEGIES & SWOT ANALYSIS:


Strengths

  • Uptown
  • Access to highway
  • Central location to urban areas
  • One-stop shop for economic
    development
  • Active Visitor Center
  • BBQ and history
  • Young entrepreneurs
  • Collaborative partner agencies

Weaknesses

  • Lack of hotels
  • Socioeconomically challenged
    demographics
  • Perception of school system
  • Low educational attainment
  • Obstacles to residential development
  • No Class A or B office stock
  • Homeless shelter in Uptown
  • Lack of clustering of retail/commercial
  • Perception of urban gravity of
    Winston-Salem

Opportunities

  • Small urban area transitioning from rural
  • Momentum of clustering effect in uptown
  • Ambiance is improving
  • Develop unique places like the Depot District
  • Amphitheater
  • Old post office building
  • Performing arts theater and a theater district
  • Creativity with infrastructure and city flexibility

Threats

  • “Brain drain”(highly trained youth
    are moving from the area)
  • Public housing growth
  • Succession plan for business
  • Opioid crisis
  • Economic downturn
  • Livable wages
  • Lack of resources for economic
    development

 

Goal: 

Continue to Develop Amenities that Create a Sense of Place

Strategies: 

-Critical Mass of Unique Places to make a Destination
-Continue Depot District Development & Passenger Rail Station
-Art/Music Venues and Ventures
-Public art Theater District
-Emphasis on Design Retail Recruitment
-Maintain Retail Hub Status
-County partnership for greenways and connectivity 

Recruit and Retain Businesses that will Provide Quality Jobs
-Industrial site identification and qualification
-Site/Building Redevelopment
-Infill development
-Business Retention and Expansion
-Supply Chain Study
-Business information
Support Residential Developments that will Attract New Residents
-Uptown housing for young professionals
-Capitalize on Top 25 Places to Retire
-Continue demolition in blighted areas
-Residential development incentives
Support Innovation in Education and Workforce Development
-Encourage K-12 signature programs
-Recruit satellite campus of Higher Ed to Uptown
Enhance the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
-Most Business-Friendly City
-Incubator or Co-Work space in Depot District focused on craftsmanship w/ SBC Office
-Economic Gardening approach 
Market Lexington to Attract People, Visitors and Business  -Development of a collaborative, cross marketing and communications plan with partner agencies
-Include grassroots marketing to attract people with a personal connection to Lexington
-Promote one-stop-shop