Are you ALL IN FOR ELKIN? This was asked of hundreds of people at a kick-off event to launch a new revitalization effort in early 2017. Our answer was a loud “yes.” We are ALL IN for our hometown. Creative EDC donated half the cost of the strategic plan, facilitation of community focus groups, and will be involved in implementation support. We talk about leadership involvement in communities in our strategic plans. We think it is important to walk what we talk in our own community.
There is strong momentum behind several efforts to revitalize Elkin’s economy. A grassroots organization, Explore Elkin, launched new events in 2017 that drew people into town. The Chamber of Commerce is re-energizing its program of work. The Arts Council is raising its level of engagement and number of events. The Elkin Valley Trails Association is opening new segments of trail, and there are many more stories of how people are ALL IN FOR ELKIN.
After digesting economic data, community surveys, and a SWOT Analysis, the steering committee narrowed a long list of economic development projects to a small set to vet with the community. The projects focus on the Town making key public investments that will be leveraged by Explore Elkin, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Surry County Economic Development Partnership, and others.
Understanding that resources are limited; the projects were prioritized by the community through an online survey and a focus group. The #1 priority is the Development and Implementation of a Community-Wide Master Plan to include Infrastructure, Gateways, Streetscape, and a Riverwalk on the Yadkin. A master plan will impact every part of the town visually and physically. It could design gateways that welcome visitors from the interstate into downtown; a boardwalk along the Yadkin River with boat access, music venues, food, and shops; and a redeveloped downtown with active storefronts. The plan would also address the modern infrastructure, roads, and telecommunications needed to support all of these. In addition to town-led projects, the strategic plan identifies priority projects for the partners — Explore Elkin, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Surry County Economic Development Partnership. They include marketing and promoting the area, more events to bring more people to town, amenity development, and a small business incubator.
The Town of Elkin adopted the strategic plan on March 12, 2018 and started implementation.