Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer
December 18, 2012
The Smith Phillips redevelopment workshops hosted December 11 and 12 by the Town of Elkin’s Economic Development Department were attended by more than 50 community members over the course of the two-day period.
The N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the National Park Service were all present.
The workshop was made possible through the Piedmont Together initiative –a nine-county sustainability, smart growth planning initiative headed up by PART (Piedmont Authority for Regional Transport) and PTRC (Piedmont Triad Regional Council).
The Town of Elkin’s Smith Phillips project was chosen as one of five workshops to be hosted in the region.
In the workshops community members first heard a presentation on Smart Growth design and its principals relative to Elkin. They also heard key findings on the tourism market from Ms. Robin Spinks of Greenfield Development. A presentation of the Elkin survey findings was provided and then the group broke out into three work groups.
Each group focused on “Access, Site Planning, and Usage” for the property. The discussions focused on items such as linking the site for vehicle and pedestrian access, what sort of features should be seen on the exterior of the property or what some of the 3.65 acres of land could be used for, as well as what sort of ‘entities’ or pieces the community would like to see on the interior of the building – such as trails interpretations, museum artifacts, or which “stories” regarding the history of Elkin should be incorporated.
“The workshops far exceeded my expectations in terms of participation and the willingness of the community to discuss what they would like to see done with the property as well as their concerns,” said Elkin’s Economic Development Director Leslie Schlender. “There were many topics discussed with passion and thoughtfulness, which really helped shaped the direction and feel of this Heritage and Trails Center concept. The workshops and survey really brought to the forefront the need for Elkin to continue to remember, just as we do in some of our tourism marketing initiatives, that supporting the history, stories and business of Elkin as well as that of the greater region of the Yadkin Valley is vitally important for its success and sustainability.”
A formal presentation of the findings and a refined rendering and visuals supporting the concept will be presented at the next Town of Elkin Board of Commissioners meeting on January 14 at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
“I hope all that attended the workshop come and see this next step presented, as we continue to pursue this concept, public input to continue to refine the project are critical and welcomed,” Schlender said. “This is an exciting project for Downtown Elkin and we hope the community will come out to learn more about it and the next steps we’ll be taking to try and achieve it.”