Another chapter in efforts to redevelop the former Spencer’s Inc. property in downtown Mount Airy will be written Thursday night.
That’s when city officials are scheduled to gather at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the Municipal Building for what is described as a “special meeting workshop” for the project.
Mayor David Rowe said Tuesday he views the session as a key step in a revitalization process that began with the city government’s acquisition of the sprawling Spencer’s site more than two years ago.
“I wouldn’t put it in the critical category, but I would put it in the very important category,” Rowe said of the opportunity for further work on a plan to inject new business investment in the old industrial buildings and create jobs.
He indicated that Thursday’s meeting offers a chance to basically hit the refresh button on the project and allow officials to regroup in terms of charting a course for the rest of the way.
This is coming in the wake of Mount Airy officials contracting in early April with a Charlotte attorney, DeWitt F. “Mac” McCarley, to aid the city government in the redevelopment process. McCarley has much experience in that field in roles encompassing both the public and private sectors.
McCarley is scheduled to attend Thursday night’s meeting, according to an agenda for the session.
It will include:
• A description of the Spencer’s project by Martin Collins, the city community-development coordinator;
• Discussion of the development goals for the property by the mayor and Board of Commissioners;
• An opportunity for citizen comments;
• A confirmation of goals by the mayor, commissioners and McCarley;
• The timeline for development to occur, facilitated by McCarley.
Rowe believes a key part of the meeting will be the citizen comments on how they’d like to see the redevelopment play out, after two years of work with a pair of prospective developers already on board with potential projects. They have proposed a hotel/banquet center and an upscale apartment complex using parts of the Spencer’s complex.
That leaves other sections to be eyed for development.
“There’s still a lot of things to be decided,” the mayor added Tuesday, mentioning that city officials must choose projects the town could support — a process the public can aid.
“There’s still plenty of room for citizens’ input.”
Rowe thinks the redevelopment effort is at a good place overall.
“I feel we have made some nice progress and I think it’s one of those ball-rolling-down-the-hill situations where we get faster as we go down the hill.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.