On Monday, February 10th, the Yancey County Board of County Commissioners, Burnsville Town Council and Yancey County Economic Development Commission met in joint session to review and approve a new strategic economic development plan which will guide community and economic development efforts for the county and town for the next ten years.
The previous strategic economic development plan implemented jointly by county, town and economic development officials was adopted in 2005 and contained many policy goals and projects which have been implemented since that time. “The end result of the efforts recommended in the 2005 plan greatly advanced opportunity for economic development in the intervening decade. Having successfully implemented that plan we wanted to turn to the future and adopt a new plan to continue the momentum we have and to focus on new policies, goals and projects to continue to grow our community and economy wisely and effectively” stated Yancey County Economic Development Director Jamie McMahan.
The plan was put together with assistance from planners from the High Country Regional Council of Governments and a joint steering committee of county, town, EDC officials and local community stakeholders. Meetings were held throughout the year in 2019 to gather input and formulate goals over a wide variety of economic sectors. A culmination of the months-long planning process, the resulting plan contains background information and policy goals and priorities for tourism, small business development, industrial recruitment and retention, agriculture, community development, workforce development and infrastructure.
In addition to adopting the plan, officials at Monday’s joint meeting also adopted a policy statement identifying a list of priorities from the plan which will be the focus of economic development efforts for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, in addition to the continuing work of the Yancey EDC to recruit, grow and retain business and industry. Those priorities are:
· Increasing the occupancy/hotel room tax rate in Yancey County to 6% to provide a more effective budget to encourage tourism development efforts.
· Implementing infrastructure improvements outlined in the Town of Burnsville’s Water and Sewer Capital Improvement Plan.
· Expansion of water and sewer service to the western section of Yancey County as development warrants.
· Organizing an annual summit between non-profit leaders, County Commissioners, Town Councilors and the local legislative delegation to discuss policy priorities and projects.
· Developing a master plan for a new greenway.
· Developing a streetscape plan for downtown Burnsville, increasing street lighting downtown.
· Construction of a permanent farmers’ market facility.
· Comprehensive land use planning ordinance revisions and modifications for the Town of Burnsville.
· Enhancing STEM education efforts.
A copy of the full plan is available to read and/or download on the Yancey County Economic Development Commission website at www.yanceyedc.org.