Aubrey looks to improve areas

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AUBREY — Council members will discuss on Saturday how to use $287,000 left over from an eight-year-old bond package to redevelop areas along Main Street and downtown.

City officials hope the project improvements will capture the attention of residential and business developers and lead to some economic growth within the city.

The redevelopment project will be completed in at least three phases, with the first phase including adding lighting, sidewalks, public restrooms and concessions along Main Street in downtown, officials say.

“We want to make improvements the residents can enjoy,” council member Brandy Pounds said. “We want them to enjoy coming and spending time in downtown.”

Pounds declined to give details about phases two and three because the council has yet to weigh in, but those phases will be discussed Saturday during the council meeting.

City Planner Chantal Kirkland said the meeting is the first step in creating plans and outlines on how to move forward.

“There’s nothing but an idea, yet,” she said.

Pounds said she hopes to gain some momentum on the project before the May elections.

“Depending how well this goes, there could be a chance to hold more events in downtown throughout the year,” she said.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in City Hall, 107 S. Main St. The item on the agenda is only a discussion item, meaning no council vote is expected.

“We want to make sure that this project maintains the old, small downtown feel that people love about our city,” Pounds said.

In the future, Pounds said she hopes to invite residents, the Aubrey Planning and Zoning Commission and Economic Development Commission members to workshop meetings to add to the discussions.

Within the last year, Aubrey officials have worked to develop plans to revitalize the city, including work on the city’s first comprehensive plan in spring 2013.

And in January 2013, Kirkland developed a list of goals and objectives that city officials and residents wanted to tackle in the coming years.

That 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, east of Main Street.

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

Several residents also urged the council to put effort into attracting retail and entertainment venues.

The plan lists several strengths in the target area 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.

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

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.


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