Handmade in America resource team visiting Columbus May 14-16

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Columbus residents, businesses, organizations, youth and other community stakeholders are being given an opportunity to improve their town.

Columbus recently became the newest member of the HandMade in America Small Town Revitalization program, and as a part of that, the community has invited a resource team to complete a community assessment.

The HandMade Resource Team will visit Columbus May 14-16 to conduct individual and group interviews and tour the town and outlying areas in an effort to collect extensive information on Columbus’ assets and opportunities.

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The information gathered will be compiled into a report for recommendations on how to achieve the Columbus community’s goals for improvement. This report will in turn be provided to the town’s leadership and steering committee to work on an implementation strategy.

Some of the areas to be explored for improvement include design, organization, promotion, economic restructuring, cultural heritage, tourism development, historic preservation, greenways, parks and open spaces.

What improvements would you like to see? What’s important to you? The town invites interested residents and business owners to come out and share their thoughts. The kick-off event begins at 9 a.m. on May 14 at Columbus Town Hall.

Anyone is welcome to join this event, and participants will be welcomed with coffee and pastries.

Individual and group interviews will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at Stearns School. Interviewees this day will include business owners, residents, former local government officials and planning board members. Final individual and group interviews will take place on Thursday, May 16 at Columbus Town Hall and will include members from the non-profit sector and any other interviewees missed the previous two days.

The resource team will hold a close-out event and hot dog supper beginning at 4 p.m. at Columbus Town Hall and will present initial findings. The public is welcome, and encouraged to attend.

Paper and online surveys will also be available at www.columbusnc.com, Columbus Post Office and Columbus Town Hall if you are unable to attend. If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact Columbus Town Hall at 828-894-8236 to set up a time.

The Polk County Community Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to the Town of Columbus to assist in joining Handmade in America and, specifically, to aid in this community assessment process. HandMade in America grows economies through craft, transforming communities through education, entrepreneurship and economic development.

Additional information is available online at handmadeinamerica.org or by calling 828-252-0121 x307.

– article submitted by Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe