This is Matt Bailey.

There are a lot of reasons I’m excited about the Ephesus-Fordham plan. Clearly, the roads are broken. They’re tricky for motorists, unfriendly for pedestrians, and downright dangerous for bicyclists. Clearly, the zoning is broken. It was designed for the 1970s suburban sprawl era, so property owners really can’t do much more than gussy up their aging strip malls under the current code. Clearly, the tax base is broken. With so many shopping and dining choices just across the county line, there’s probably no part of town that bleeds more sales tax than the Ephesus-Fordham area.

But it’s not what the Ephesus-Fordham plan would fix that most excites me. As a resident of nearby Colony Lake, it’s what it would create that really excites me.

The plan will add smaller, more pedestrian-friendly streets through what are now parking lots, making Ephesus-Fordham the kind of place our family will want to walk and bike. By allowing property owners to move beyond the outdated strip mall model, the plan will create the kinds of places we can hang out with our friends and neighbors, such as a sidewalk café or maybe a restaurant with a rooftop patio. The plan will create more retail and dining options near our neighborhood, which means we’ll drive less to Durham to shop and eat. I sure wouldn’t mind keeping more of our sales tax money here in Orange County. The plan could even give me an office that’s actually near my home someday.

Most of all, I’m excited that the Ephesus-Fordham plan will finally give our side of town a real center for our community, something we desperately lack today. Let’s get the ball rolling on the Ephesus-Fordham plan. When we do, Ephesus-Fordham won’t just be the name of an intersection. Ephesus-Fordham will be the name of a place.