Town needs to decide what makes it ‘unique’, official says
Before moving forward on any economic development projects, the town of Stallings needs to determine what makes it unique. That was the suggestion from Union County Partnership for Progress President Maurice Ewing during a presentation to the town council Monday, Sept. 26.
“At the end of the day, you want something more than a vision,” Ewing told council members. “You want to have appeal, so people will come and buy your house when you get to be my age and want to retire. You can’t do everything.”
Ewing told the council he can’t say what Stallings needs to focus on, because the town hasn’t defined what direction it wants to go. If it wants to have a sportsplex, Ewing said, then it should focus on sports and find a way to build a unique facility that no other town can duplicate. The same goes if the town wants to focus on parks instead.
“We have been a little reactive,” Stallings mayor Lynda Paxton said. “We tend to wait for things to come to us and I have an idea there may be some things we could do as a town that could prompt developers and businesses to come to the town.”
Council member Harry Stokes said he felt towns needed a more cohesive effort towards economic development, working together instead of fighting for the same projects.
“The problem is I feel we all work apart, trying to grab what’s available when we could probably do it better as a whole county, with a master plan,” Stokes said.
Ewing told the council that business owners want certain things, when looking at a place to relocate or a project to invest in. They want to know what the payback will be, Ewing said, explaining that the town has to establish a complete plan before reaching out for investors.
“What do you have that makes you unique?” Ewing asked. “One of the things Walt Disney did better than anyone else was the unique factor. He created a whole new theme park industry. What is Stallings’ unique factor?”
Ewing encouraged the town to pursue a strategic plan, coming up with specific target companies to pursue.