What are the Major Highlights in Each Issue Area?
We should provide an environment where businesses can grow and prosper, but not at the lessening of our quality of life. We need to prepare our workforce to meet the needs of business, but we also need to make sure that we have businesses that can provide jobs for a diverse workforce.
We can no longer pursue a "roads first" strategy. We must begin developing a transit system today to meet the needs of our growing population. Along with transit, we have to do a better job of incorporating bicycles, pedestrians, and alternate modes of transportation into our system.
Neighborhoods are the building blocks of the community. They must be provided with support and resources to be successful, whether it be making infrastructure improvements, working to eliminate substandard housing, or providing training for neighborhood leaders. The strength and viability of the greater community rests on the viability of each of the individual building blocks.
The public school system must be an active participant in planning for the future of our community. We must ensure that resources (schools, book, teachers, etc.) are made available and equitably distributed so all citizens have access to a quality education at all levels. We must challenge our public school system to think beyond the traditional way educational services have been offered, and come up with more efficient, and effective scenarios.
Parks, Recreation and Open Space:
With our current pace of development, it is critical that we reserve land now for parks, recreation and open space or we won't have the opportunity later. To reserve, and develop land for these uses will require that we forge new partnerships and begin thinking more creatively about how we can incorporate green/open space into existing and new development.Land Use and Urban Design: Charlotte has a very suburban development pattern and will continue to produce mainly suburban development over the next two decades. Our challenge will be to enable more urban development to occur within this framework. Meeting this challenge will involve better implementation of the "centers and corridor" adopted land use vision at the local level. Inherent in this vision is creating higher density developments within transportation corridors and at major activity centers. It will also involve efforts to better balance and manage the growth that we are experiencing. Good design will be critical to ensure that development is compatible with the surrounding area, and is sensitive to the natural environment.
Public service delivery and planning should be coordinated with counties and cities throughout the metropolitan region to increase efficiencies and avoid duplication. Regional efforts must also be coordinated locally to ensure that we keep the best interests of Charlotte-Mecklenburg at the forefront our decision making.
The 2015 Plan has a very broad-based approach. It provides an opportunity for us to step back and look at our "big picture" agenda and ask ourselves if all the things we are doing are really on track with our long-term vision of the community we want to be.
While the 2015 Plan does not include specific projects or initiatives, it sets the stage for city and county departments to do just that in the coming years. It also outlines a process to monitor our progress in implementing projects to address 2015 goals and objectives. Many of these projects will be accomplished within the scope of existing departmental budgets, with the 2015 Plan helping us redirect and prioritize resource allocations.