Davidson developing new economic plan
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – After developing the social and natural aspects of town for years, the town board is focusing on the third leg of the stool – economic development.
Kathleen Rose, of Rose and Associates Southeast, presented her findings, thus far, on an economic development strategic plan to the board at its Tuesday, Feb. 28, work session.
Rose gathered information from existing plans and studies and conducted interviews with residents in a wide range of businesses about what economic development should look like in Davidson.
What she found is a lack of income diversity.
Davidson has educated, semi-retired executives and young families, but is missing 20-30-year-olds, who leave after college and don’t move back until they can afford to live in the town.
Davidson has the most expensive housing sales in Mecklenburg County, Rose said. The average home sells for $400,000. Davidson’s affordable housing program offers homes in the $100,000 range, leaving a gap in income levels that can live in Davidson.
To develop Davidson’s economy, Rose said office and industrial uses must be built up first. A larger employment base will increase housing demand, in turn developing retail.
“Retail development is not an economic development strategy, it’s a result of an economic development strategy,” Rose said.
Rose will review case studies of comparable small college towns and present a strategic economic development plan at the board’s March work session.
Also during the work session, United Family Services’ north Mecklenburg victims’ advocate Lindsay Lee told the board she served 66 clients from September, when she started, to the end of January. Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Mecklenburg County and United Family services each voted last year to contribute $15,000 a year to fund the new position. Lee guides victims of crimes ranging from domestic abuse and sexual assault to theft or fire through the emotional and logistical aftermath of crimes.
Planning Manager Lauren Blackburn and Monica Holmes of the Lawrence Group told town board members they will present a master station area plan to the board in coming months. After gathering public input and studying possible development sites, Holmes and Blackburn have developed a vision for ideal development around a potential Red Line station.