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Residents share their ideas at FOCUS discussions

Increase blue collar jobs… build energy efficient homes…more bike paths. All of these ideas were shared by community members at the FOCUS public discussion series, hosted at locations around the greater Wilmington area.

“These ideas could be a reality for the region with the proper framework,” said one attendee.

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FOCUS gathered with community residents in November and December to discuss ideas that will help shape the future of southeastern N.C. The series of discussions concentrated on the environment, housing, health and opportunity livability principles in our region. FOCUS asked and more than 60 community members told us.

Health

 Access to recreational activities was a popular idea. Many felt that children, youth, and adults would benefit from having more recreation options, especially those with handicaps, the elderly, and low income residents.
 Healthcare facilities in the region should both upgrade and expand their facilities to better serve everyone.
 Better coordination among local hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other groups could improve healthcare access and affordability.
 Increase number of facilities for the aging population.
• More access to affordable healthy food options.
 Barriers for safe biking and walking in the community.

Environment

 Increased density would reduce the environmental impact of higher population and would preserve existing forests and wetlands for important habitat and storm water protection.
 Renewed education efforts for local citizens about runoff and other pollutants as a way to combat water pollution.
 The effect of sea level rise may have on coastal development and asked for policy to be shaped with potential future ocean levels in mind.
• Increase recycling, decrease littering.
• Preserve the green spaces in the area.
 More access to our natural resources and areas.

Opportunity

 Improved transportation options for children and youth is needed as a way to encourage involvement in after-school programs.
• Priorities ranged from diversifying employment options in the area, to making young people ready for work by improving the local schools and expanding certification programs at community colleges.
 Developing year round tourism.
 Better job stability to retain people in the area.
 Support for working families within work areas and neighborhoods.
 Improve Downtown transportation options.

Housing

 There is a lack of attractive affordable housing in the area.
• They felt that building up, instead of building out would be beneficial because the higher density living would lower costs for residents and local governments alike.
 Changes to low income housing policies, including decentralizing the placement of these housing options.
• More energy efficient homes would be a big draw for those moving into the region.
• There should be more handicap accessible housing options.
• Better constructed homes that can withstand strong storms.
 After the first of the year, the discussion sessions will move to Pender and Brunswick counties. Check the FOCUS calendar for dates.

To share your ideas visit www.focussenc.com/focus-forum.