The Town of Clayton is looking for ways to augment redevelopment projects in its existing neighborhoods.
By spending money to repair sidewalks, fix curb and gutter systems and make other minor infrastructure upgrades, Town Manager Steve Biggs said, Clayton can enhance new investment in older areas.
Biggs said developers are sometimes reluctant to go into neighborhoods that have aging or faulty infrastructure. Leveraging the town’s money with the private sector might increase activity, he said.
The town has identified neighborhoods on a map, which crews will use to scout possible improvement projects.
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The idea, Biggs said, came from a sidewalk-improvement project that coincided with the renovation of an old house on South Lombard Street.
The family of former town councilman James Lipscomb owns the house, where he grew up and his mother, Joyce Lipscomb Canady, operated a daycare. The house had sat vacant until Lipscomb, a co-founder of HomeTowne Realty in Clayton, renovated the property for a new law office.
The town laid new sidewalk in front of the house and around the corner along Andrews Street. Lipscomb said that added to the plumbing upgrades, HVAC renovations and other improvements his family made to the house.
“The other option would have been us having to come out of our pocket to improve the town’s infrastructure,” Lipscomb said.
“It’s also a safety improvement,” he added.
The town is focusing strictly on infrastructure needs, including improvements to sidewalks, asphalt, curb and gutter and storm drainage.
The map town planners created for the project identifies more than 30 neighborhoods, including older areas near downtown and newer developments like Lionsgate.
“Whatever we do, we want to be sensitive to the fact of local conditions,” Biggs said.
As for paying for the work, Biggs said the town has made lump-sum allocations for small projects in the past. However, he said he eventually hopes to designate money for the program in the annual budget.
Lipscomb, who serves on the Clayton Planning Board, said he thinks the town’s small projects can make a difference.
“Anything the town can do to help make the infrastructure as nice as possible is going to help make properties more desirable to someone coming in to buy a house, rent a house or do a re-use like we did,” Lipscomb said.