Monday, April 23, 2007

“Main Street Vision Forum” Planned for Tuesday

Residents and business people from throughout the Town of Clayton are invited to participate in the “Main Street Vision Forum” on Tuesday, April 24 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at The Clayton Center. The public is invited but everyone needs to register ahead of time so there are adequate materials and nametags.

The forum/workshop will be facilitated by NC Main Street Director, Rodney Swink and Assistant Director, Meg Dees. During the forum, participants will be divided into groups and develop lists of downtown Clayton’s strengths and weaknesses. From those lists, the participants will develop individual and group vision statements which will be shared at the end of the workshop. From that, the Downtown Development Association (DDA) will synthesize the best themes and ideas to forge a single vision statement for downtown Clayton.

The DDA is hoping between 75 to 100 people will participate in the Vision Forum. DDA Chair Joyce Blackley said this is a very important event in that DDA’s future plans of work and NC Main Street’s future assistance will be based on the visioning that takes place at this event. She said, “Downtown Clayton is the social and cultural center of the whole town and belongs to everyone in town, so we really need participation from residents and property owners from throughout Clayton.”

At a special meeting in late February, DDA members developed a broad list of stakeholder groups that they would like to have represented at the forum: residents and property owners from throughout town, representatives from civic organizations, arts and cultural groups, educational community, industry, civic leaders, church leaders, high school youth, commercial and residential real estate agents, bankers, accountants, attorneys, and town staff, especially from public safety, utility and public works departments.

Mrs. Blackley added that, “We want input and participation from native residents to newcomers and from all the different cultural communities within Clayton. We are reaching out to all these groups in town.”

Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen said one of those groups is “One Body, One Voice, which generally meets in the Council Chambers the last Tuesday of the month. OBOV organizer Michael Williams agreed to partner with us because the Vision Forum fits the goals of the organziation. Williams said, “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with DDA in this awesome event. We believe that unity in the community will bring about growth and opportunity for all”. Naegelen added, “We are expecting a large number of people from ‘One Body, One Voice’ to participate.”

An activity leading to the Vision Forum was “Picture Downtown.” This activity involved 36 volunteersfrom throughout the community using disposable cameras to photograph aspects of the downtown that they “like” and “dislike” as a means of developing a record of design issues. The photographs will be on display during the Vision Forum, then used in design training and in informing the public about the downtown effort.

The Vision Forum will be followed later in the spring by a Design Workshop. It will introduce property owners and local officials to the Main Street philosphy of design rehabilitation and the system they use to provide design assistance. This will also be a public workshop.

If you would like to participate in the Main Street Vision Forum on April 24, please contact Joyce Blackley at (919) 553-6813 or Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen, at (919) 553-1545 or It is very important that all participants pre-register for this event.