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Residents urged to attend workshop on growth

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Hampton should keep its "small town, cozy feel" as it continues to be developed, believes Hampton City Manager Andy Pippin.

Pippin offered his remarks in the wake of discussions about the future growth of Hampton, an issue currently being examined in a Liveable Centers Initiative (LCI) study.

"Hampton residents deserve smart growth, unlike what we've seen in surrounding areas," said Pippin. "With the proper usage of zoning ordinances and city codes, Hampton should be able to keep its small town, cozy feel, as well as enjoy the good things that come with growth, like restaurants, grocery and retail stores, professional services, etc."

Possible types of development that could work for the city will be discussed during the second public workshop meeting for Hampton's Livable Centers Initiative study scheduled for Oct. 21. It will be held at the Hampton Depot, from 5:30 p.m., to 8 p.m. The city's first LCI meeting was in August.

The meetings give residents an opportunity to provide suggestions on how they would like to see their community grow, said Woody Giles, a planner with Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates, an Atlanta-based consulting firm that is working with the city to conduct the meetings.

"Our public kick-off meeting in August was a chance to announce the Livable Centers Initiative study, and get initial public input," said Giles. "The community workshop on Oct. 21, will go more in-depth, beginning with a summary of findings and opportunities in Hampton, in such areas as transportation and economic development, and concluding with 'hands-on focus tables' that will allow the public to explore the future of particular areas of Hampton, and discuss important issues."

Giles said the goal is to reach out to the community to addresss the different types of potential development they would like to see in their city.

"The Livable Centers Initiative seeks to encourage walkable, mixed-use development in places like Hampton," he said. "The community workshop is being hosted in hopes that the public will attend, and express what they want in terms of future redevelopment, so that those ideas can be refined and, ultimately, adopted as part of the LCI study," he said. "There is no specific agenda at this point for redevelopment, so we hope the community will come out and share their vision for the future of Hampton."

Pippin described Hampton as the final frontier for Henry County in regards to growth. "We have ample green space to be developed. We are positioned between two major arteries for traveling north or south," said Pippin. "We have Tara Field, it seems to be an ideal area for growth. But, I must emphasize that any growth that does come will be monitored very strictly."