Excitement filled the fire department building in Lansing Friday night as 60 plus residents gathered to hear about the ongoing STEP program and begin planning of the actual details.
Pal Combs, coach for the Small Towns Economic Prosperity (STEP) program in Lansing, offered a power point presentation of “Lansing in 2020: An Early American Village” which the Lansing Tomorrow Commission (LTC) has prepared. This 10-year outlook for the town takes into account such factors as projected growth in population and business, recreational opportunities, infrastructure needs, environmental concerns, festivals and tourism.
The LTC vision of Lansing in 2020 includes a community center in or near the downtown with exercise and recreation facilities, a community meeting space, and activities for area residents of all ages. The vision also includes a pedestrian friendly town with shopping and amenities for residents and visitors with sidewalks and walking paths connecting businesses and places of interest. A green aspect to energy needs is also envisioned.
Participants at Friday’s community gathering broke up into four groups to discuss strategies of the plan. These groups are expected to meet several more times before presenting their final proposals to the LTC on May 4. Once strategies are prioritized by the LTC, the final plan will be offered in a formal presentation to the Lansing Board of Aldermen. When the aldermen sign off on the plan, it will be submitted to the North Carolina Rural Center, which is providing a $100,000 grant for implementation.
Nita Church, chair person of the LTC, said the grant money comes to the Town of Lansing so the LTC must respect the opinions of the aldermen on specific details and process of implementation.
The North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity (NC STEP) Demonstration Program is is made possible by $11.9 million in legislative appropriations.
A total of 45 communities are currently participating in the program, which has three primary goals: 1) to support economic recovery and revitalization in small towns adversely affected by structural changes in the economy or recent natural disasters; 2) to test a comprehensive model of technical assistance and grant-making to aid in revitalization efforts; and 3) to provide information vital to the development of public policies that support long-term investment in the economic vitality of North Carolina’s small towns. It is made possible by $11.9 million in legislative appropriations.
Participation sites will be able to connect through an Internet-based program to other small towns and rural communities across the nation and throughout the world that are addressing economic transition and revitalization.