South Boston Town Council approved a strategic plan for the town at its Monday evening meeting. The strategic plan outlines the top five priorities identified by council members, in addition to other “areas of opportunity.”
“It’s a two-year plan,” said town manager Tom Raab. “Those first five priority areas are the ones that we’ll look at and try to work on.”
Vice-mayor Bob Hughes made the motion to approve the strategic plan, councilwoman Sharon Harris seconded the motion, and the motion carried in a unanimous vote.
At an Oct. 26 council work session, the consultants who worked with council on the strategic plan – Jeff Sadler, lead consultant with Complete Community Economies, LLC, and colleague Natalie Hodge – presented the strategic plan to council.
The five highest-ranking priority areas in the strategic plan are creating a comprehensive design plan for the Riverdale area of town which is in a floodplain, addressing blighting and derelict buildings, downtown revitalization and the John Randolph Hotel project, making safety-related improvements and increasing access to public services in the Westside/ west end of town, also known as the Sinai community, and creating a succession/contingency plan for the town’s department leaders.
Raab noted that the town is already making progress on three of the top priority areas outlined in the strategic plan. He said he is working with developers for the John Randolph Hotel, the town is preparing to raze a derelict residential property and is in the process of addressing other blighted properties.
In the west end of town, VDOT workers recently widened a portion of Sinai Road as part of overall efforts to improve conditions for pedestrian travel along that highway.
“Westside is coming along,” Raab commented. “A gentleman has donated some land for a park in that area, as well.”
In other business at Monday’s meeting, council adopted Roberts Rules of Order 12th edition as rules of procedure for town council meetings.
Raab also shared a couple of items of good news with town council at the meeting. He said the town had awarded a total of $126,000 in loans to “17 or 18 individuals” in South Boston for business needs. The town decided to allocate a portion of the CARES Act funding it received for the small business loans.
“They really appreciated that gesture and how much that’s going to help them stay in business,” said Raab.
Raab updated council on the Imperial Lofts investment, as well.
He said Imperial Lofts, a renovated warehouse that has been transformed into upscale apartments, had paid off its loan to the town of South Boston and the town had paid the bank in full. The town has not lost anything from the Imperial Lofts investment and has actually made money – between $275,000 and $300,000 – from the project investment, Raab noted.