Chapel Hill 2014: “I Believe We’re Going To Reap Great Reward”

By Ran Northam Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Town Council has concluded its 2013 business, and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says 2014 will likely be defined by some challenging decisions that need to be made.

“I think there are going to be several, and many of them are going to be budget-related,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “When you think of 2014 as the year when we finally make some big decisions that have major budget ramifications like solid waste, Rogers Road, and leveraging state and federal resources for other projects like the Ephesus-Fordham district. Those are going to be difficult, challenging questions.”

But, he says he’s confident the council will get to some good solutions.

The year 2013 already faced some tough budget decisions including finding money in the budget to get the newly rebuilt Chapel Hill Public Library back to full-time hours.

“The culmination of that decades-long work by people in our community, advocates of the library, the citizens of our town, and a series of leaders on the Town Council,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “Being able to open that library and bring in a new director with a great vision for our future, I think it’s one of the most visible and exciting things the happen this year.”

He says another defining moment of 2013 in Chapel Hill was the completion of a major development downtown that provides housing, a place for new businesses, and still allows room for parking.

“We also saw 140 West really get going and filled up and our downtown realizing a lot of the promise that that project was designed to create come to fruition,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

Mayor Kleinschmidt says he believes the completion of plans for the eastern part of town—the Ephesus/Fordham corridor—could revolutionize the community.

“Not just by being able to establish standards for redevelopment that have been vetted through the community that provide for a more streamline process for redevelopment in an area that we already know—or we already believe, at lease—can tolerate a much more intense commercial environment,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

And he says the process in which the redevelopment is achieved is also revolutionary.

“Within town government, things have changed so much in the way we have approached some of these challenges,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “The best example is the product of this district at Ephesus Church and Fordham. We have an economic development and planning team that have worked together in ways that they weren’t allowed to in years past. I believe we’re going to reap great reward.”

Check back with Chapelboro.com and WCHL Wednesday for part two of a look ahead to 2014 for Chapel Hill from the thoughts of its mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt.

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