Wendell commissioners are rightly concerned about how best to integrate the Wendell Falls community into Wendell proper.
The large development will have a major impact on the town in many ways, most of them good.
Because of the geography – the development doesn’t border the town’s existing corporate limits – there is a danger that two distinct towns could emerge.
But commissioners have several opportunities to bring the two distinct regions closer together geographically.
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Town Manager Teresa Piner has called the development exciting in part, because it opens up land that is so largely undeveloped. “A blank slate,” she has called it.
Town officials can do much to encourage development between the two regions along the Poole Road corridor leading into Wendell proper. Ensuring that appropriate zoning is in place to encourage additional commercial growth will clear the way for new businesses who want proximity to the customer base, but don’t want to pay Wendell Falls’ prices. Streamlining the development process for those interested in that property will also entice new business development. And, whether it’s deserved or not, one big knock on Wendell is that the planning and development process is so rife with rules and regulations that it is hard to establish a business in Wendell. There is room there for the town to improve.
Wendell officials can also, as we have suggested in this space before, work to tie the two regions together physically by establishing greenways that connect the two regions. That idea fits nicely within last weekend’s discussion among commissioners about increased parks and recreation opportunities.
And, finally, the town leaders must move past this notion that Wendell is too poor to do a lot. The truth is the town has virtually no debt and with the opportunities for growth that are now being realized – not just in Wendell Falls, but in other parts of the town as well – the town’s ability to grow its resources and services is about as strong as it has ever been.
There are tons of reasons why Wendell leaders want the two regions of town to become one. We are glad those conversations are starting. It is imperative that the discussions lead to action.