F’ville looks to ‘streamline business process,’ revitalize shopping areas

What will Fayetteville’s economic development initiatives look like in the coming years and how will those initiatives be realized?

The answers to those questions were a part of the discussion at the City Council’s annual retreat in March. Among the issues covered were enhancing the current and long-term viability of the Fayette Pavilion, streamlining the business process, marketing the city and garnering support for redevelopment initiatives.

City Manager Joe Morton, in noting the basic ideas behind the retreat suggestions, said the four target areas and the details specific to them could change somewhat, though they do represent a basic plan the city will utilize in addressing future economic development.

Morton said enhancing the current and future viability of the Fayette Pavilion is one of the city’s primary concerns.

“The city recognizes the importance of the Fayette Pavilion to the long-term economic viability of our community,” Morton said.

That recognition led to a proposal by city staff to develop a study committee that would include the City Council and city staff, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, the Pavilion ownership and others that might be able to assist in exploring and developing strategies to address the long-term viability of the large shopping area.

The 1.53-million-square-foot Fayette Pavilion brings thousands of shoppers to the city, along with a wealth of sales tax revenues to Fayette County. In terms of size and by way of comparison, the Mall of Georgia that draws shoppers from across north Georgia is listed as having 1.78 million square feet.

In terms of streamlining the city’s business process, Morton said city staff have developed an Economic Development Committee to provide better coordination of information and a more efficient review of economic development projects. Email groups have been established to better collaborate on projects, he said.

Morton said the Economic Development Committee will review and revise procedures as necessary to move closer to a “One Stop Shop” process to assist businesses in navigating the permitting and review process while maintaining compliance with all ordinances and regulations.

As it pertains to marketing the Fayetteville community, Morton said city staff will update the city’s website to include more comprehensive information about the benefits of doing business or relocating to Fayetteville.

The information will include “Why Fayetteville,” updated demographics, incentives and other benefits. Staff will also investigate the development of a marketing brochure, handouts and a possible video, Morton said.

The idea, said Morton, is to identify and develop a resources list that would include items such as development professionals and real estate brokers and marketing information about Fayetteville.

“The city will continue to work closely with the Fayette County Development Authority in promoting Fayetteville and Fayette County and bringing appropriate projects and developments to our community,” Morton said.

Yet another economic development initiative to be addressed is that of redevelopment. Unlike the redevelopment referendum to address distressed or deteriorating shopping areas that failed by a 53-47 percent public vote last year, the council wants to develop support for similar initiatives prior to the time voters go to the polls.

“We are currently waiting on the legislature to approve our local legislation (House Bill 349) which will allow us to move forward with the local referendum asking the voters to grant the city state redevelopment authority powers,” said Morton. “We are also looking at the possibility of establishing a local steering committee consisting of representatives from the community, business, chamber and others to provide public information about benefits of redevelopment projects and a proposed referendum.”

Morton said the city will also disseminate information educating the public about redevelopment initiatives using the city website, utility bills, community meetings and possibly a town hall format.

Like before, those redevelopment projects involve a very limited geographical area, such as the 692 Shopping Center and the Fayette Place Shopping Center, both on North Glynn Street, and include no increases in property taxes.

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