Following last week’s citizen input session, Laurinburg officials say that they were pleased to learn that the concerns of the people were aligned with their own.
The annual session — the first to be conducted by new Human Resources Director Amy Martin — drew around 20 concerned residents to the AB Gibson Center where they created and prioritized a list of goals and issues of importance to the future of the city.
The most important issues, as voted on by attendees, were city beautification and the recruiting of restaurants to the area.
A related issue of “litter awareness” ranked third along with animal control and the enforcement of local leash laws.
Members of the Laurinburg City Council reported being pleased that each of the issues held up as important by citizens during the forum were also prioritized by council over the past year.
“It validates our efforts so far in many ways,” said Councilman Drew Williamson. “I think that if we had heard different things than we were discussing were important to them, we would probably have to be second-guessing ourselves a little bit.”
Input session guests were directed into one of the large classroom spaces at the downtown AB Gibson Center and broken into groups where they were joined by members of government, including law enforcement, city council and city staff.
Each small group, with a city representatives serving as recorder, developed a list of pressing issues and relayed them to Martin at the front of the room.
Martin proceeded to organize the items on several large pieces of paper and attach them to the room’s front wall.
From there attendees voted on which items they valued most by affixing a small green sticker adjacent to it on Martin’s list. Each attendee was granted four green stickers.
The voting process left beautification and restaurant recruitment tied with six votes apiece at the top of the list. Tied for second with five votes each were litter concerns and a desire for improved animal control services.
Among the other issues receiving votes were, in order of importance: enhancing the appearance of downtown, manicuring sidewalks and trimming trees in right-of-way areas, repairing drainage problems on Church Street, creating more walking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities, allowing for the advertising of community activities on roadsides, replacing native trees, promoting community pride, cultivating a better business environment, adding a city youth center, adding more sidewalks and 4G mobile service, creating more downtown social events and filling holes created by trash/boom trucks operated by the city.
“This is a comprehensive list,” said Martin during the meeting.
Martin served to consolidate similar items on the list and has said that she will likely overhaul the citizen input session process next year.
“I wanted to see how this one went first before making any changes,” she said.