Revitalization plan to help guide Aubrey in developing area

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AUBREY — City staff members have compiled a list of goals into a single document to give officials a clear vision of what they would like to achieve.

City officials and residents all offered input on the goals.

The city has targeted an area for development for several years, but officials lacked a concrete plan that outlined actions to take and goals until now.

The new revitalization plan calls for the city to invest in improvements to attract more housing, commercial and job development in several acres of land located between Spring Hill Road and U.S. Highway 377.

The city released the plan Thursday, and it summarizes possible strategies the city may take to develop the area.

“This is just a plan that lays out what we want to achieve, so we can plan how to get there,” City Planner Chantal Kirkland said. “It’s set to be a step-by-step guide. It can change.”

Kirkland said the plan will remain fluid, so city officials can make changes when needed.

“Some of these items won’t get addressed anytime soon,” she said. “We are trying to think long term and we’ll revisit each once it’s the right time to address it.”

The plan also states that city officials want to reverse neighborhood decay and foster communitywide participation in redevelopment.

Many residents at Thursday’s council meeting also expressed that the council should put effort into attracting more retail and entertainment venues.

Mayor Gary Hammett said the plan is designed to help the community, so residents should attend meetings and continue to give input on what they want to see developed.

Hammett encouraged residents to think about the venues other cities have that attract them away from the city.

“We need to think about what we need to keep people here and attract them here,” he said.

More than $8.7 million in improvements along the target area are already waiting to be considered by city leaders.

Those improvements include new sidewalks, a trail system, a splash pad, various neighborhood enhancements and a new recreational facility.

The city has made several improvements in the area over the years, which includes additions to the high school, that attracted a new pharmacy and some commercial development.

However, according to the plan, city officials have a few issues to address before the area will reach its potential.

The plan lists several strengths the target area has that could help officials reach their goals.

Strengths include its proximity to U.S. Highway 377 and the city’s small-town feel.

However, weaknesses listed include a lack of pedestrian connectivity, few neighborhood businesses and a lack of code enforcement, according to the plan.

And according to the officials, the city may have to eventually address housing rehabilitation, public infrastructure improvements and design control standards to ensure goals are met.

The plan is to act as a guide to help city officials and residents, Kirkland said. More concrete plans will be worked out as each item is presented to the council. It will take several years and a lot of work, she added.

A copy of the city’s revitalization plan can be found at Aubrey City Hall, 107 S. Main St.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address isjharden@dentonrc.com .


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