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South Hill eyes formation of town tourism zone / September 13, 2017
The Town of South Hill is studying the creation of a tourism zone within town corporate limits. The purpose is to provide incentives to encourage the development of tourism-related businesses in the area.

Town Manager Kim Callis made the announcement during Monday’s regular meeting of South Hill Town Council. “In addition to the benefits provided by our current retail inventive package, a tourism zone may also offer developers access to financing that would not otherwise be available,” Callis explained.

One of the conditions for establishing the tourism zone is that the local government will serve as a development partner and share responsibility for debt service paid using tourism-generated revenues.

Before asking Council to establish the zone, Callis said he would talk with other localities that already have such a program to determine if it is appropriate for South Hill.

In other business, Council adopted a new comprehensive plan, which will serve as a guide for future development of the town. The vision laid out in the 2017-37 Comprehensive Plan includes goals in six core areas:

» Community and Housing – improve the appearance of neighborhoods and substandard housing conditions, promote affordable residential development in targeted areas, increase access to diverse recreational opportunities, and remain dedicated to maintain a clean environment.

» Economic Development – encourage potential development options for vacant properties create a robust and vibrant downtown, ensure responsible economic growth along Highway One North, and facilitate and encourage tourism.

» Public Facilities and Services – promote quality education initiatives, maintain and upgrade the town’s public parks, provide sufficient and reliable public utility infrastructures, and plan for and provide safe and efficient transportation and alternatives modes of transportation to meet community needs and projected growth.

» Environment – preserve Whittles Mill and the surrounding Max B. Crowder Park and to remain dedicated to enhancing the visual appearance of the downtown.

» Historical and Cultural – preserve the integrity of existing historic districts while considering the expansion of those districts, adding new properties and promote and expand the number of historic and cultural activities offered throughout the town.

» Land Use Development – facilitate infill development and redevelopment of underutilized property and consider new development along the entrance corridors to the town.

Callis explained that the plan will be used to guide the town so it can grow in a harmonious and coordinated manner. He and his staff did not develop the Comprehensive Plan in isolation. For nearly one year, they held focus group meetings, conducted online surveys and held public hearings to assess the interests and visions of residents and business owners.

To create this new vision for the town, Callis said the team looked at demographics, regional perspectives, unemployment trends and more. All of this information is included in the plan, along with an analysis of existing conditions and future goals.

Anyone interested in reading the South Hill Comprehensive Plan 2017-37 can find it on the town’s webpage,

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