This is Kristen Smith.

Chapel Hill, we have a real opportunity before us. After several years of work, the Town is looking to begin implementation of the Ephesus Church Rd./Fordham Blvd. small area plan. The plan was approved in June 2011 and was crafted with the involvement of a diverse set of stakeholders.

In an area that spans Willow Drive to the town’s cemetery, the implementation of the small area plan would bring much-needed transportation improvements – helping people get around easier –and create a stormwater tax district, addressing flooding issues in a comprehensive manner.

What does that all mean? We’re fixing infrastructure that is broken.

What happens when we make these investments of time and resources? We recoup a return – a return of commercial reinvestment and subsequently increased tax revenue. Not to mention additional affordable housing units, improvements to bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and new green spaces.

Unfortunately, there is some misinformation out there, particularly erroneously claiming that these efforts will harm small business and that the financing isn’t a sound plan.

So take a moment to learn for yourself. The Town is hosting a public information meeting 4:30 to 6:30 Thursday at the public library. There’s a lot of information online, and I’m happy to try to answer your questions on the old fashioned telephone.

It’s important for residents and businesses alike to know the plan and its potential. It’s our opportunity. And we can’t afford to miss it.