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Focus group meetings begin
NASHVILLE – The first three of seven focus group meetings for Nashville’s Comprehensive Plan were held last week at the O.D. Moore Building in Nashville.

Large landowners and real estate agents met last Tuesday while commercial and industrial developers met on Wednesday and citizens met on Thursday. The meetings were to give the groups the opportunity to participate in the long range planning for the Town of Nashville.

The Comprehensive Plan is a 20-year plan that will serve as a guideline for the future of Nashville. The focus group meetings will give the Comprehensive Plan Task Force an idea of what the different stakeholders want to see for the future of the town. The meetings will also provide feedback on the assets of the town.

In meetings last week, participants agreed that Nashville’s biggest asset is its location. Other assets mentioned were its schools, its utility rates, the lower cost of housing compared to other municipalities in the county and its low crime rate. The small town atmosphere and friendliness was also a key asset mentioned by participants of the focus group meetings.

Large, non-fast food restaurants was listed by several as a major need for the town. Participants said residents have to travel to Rocky Mount or Wilson to eat at a nice sit-down restaurant. With Wal-Mart coming, participants said they felt a big need would be filled for other services.

As for the future of Nashville, participants said they saw Nashville growing tremendously but added that they felt the downtown area would keep its small town feel. Participants said they felt Nashville’s downtown needed to be more aesthetically pleasing to keep it attractive to visitors to the town.

David Marcucci, a professor in the Department of Geography at East Carolina University, served as a facilitator for the focus groups.

Marcucci said the task force will take the information from the focus groups as well as information they have cumulated and put together the 20-year Comprehensive Plan.

“I’m really kind of just the hired facilitator,” Marcucci said. “Each of the seven meetings has a focus.”

“In the end, over the course of all of them, there’ll be sufficient cumulative turnout that I’ll be able to put together a report that’s worthwhile,” Marcucci added.

Four additional meetings are scheduled for December. Technology Companies and Business Owners/Operators will meet on December 4 and 5, respectively. Downtown business and residential developers will meet the following week on December 11 and 12, respectively. All meetings are held at the O.D. Moore Building and begin at 6 p.m.

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