Norman makes plans for NormanFest 2014

January 6, 2014

Matt Harrelson

Staff Writer

NORMAN — Norman Mayor Kenneth Broadway likes to dream big.

At Monday’s town hall meeting, items were discussed to help get the community on the map.

NormanFest has been an excellent way to attract people from all over the county and outside the area to the town. Last year’s festivities included helicopter rides. This year, Broadway wants to do something different so festival patrons can see Norman at a slower pace.

Dominique Boyd, of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Planning Branch presented the Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) that was originally presented to the Rockingham City Council in mid-November. The vision statement of the CTP envisions an environmentally responsible multi-modal transportation system. The connectivity of this integrated transportation network will efficiently and safely reduce congestion, improve mobility and enhance economic development and quality of life for the citizens of Richmond County.

Simply put, this could be good news for Norman. Broadway said the town is always looking for new ways to generate revenue and the more accessible the town is from the interstate the better for Norman.

With the town situated near Interstate 73/74 and being the first exit in Richmond County off that interstate, new economic developments would be nothing but good news for the town, Broadway said.

While the roadway planning is practical, the other part might be optimistic. Broadway doesn’t shy away from the hope, though, that one day a major developer shows up at NormanFest or someone sees those hot air balloons from the highway and stops by.

“We don’t want people to forget we’re here, being so far away from everyone,” Broadway said. “The dream is to keep people aware of Norman.”

There was consensus that Monday’s town meeting was a good place to start.

In other town news, plans are moving forward for a proposed time capsule that will commemorate the town’s inception. The capsule is set to be buried by the end of January or the beginning of February at the latest.

The town of Norman celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013; the plan is to open the time capsule when Norman turns 150. The council decided on a burial of only 50 years instead of 100 years, as originally planned, so that this generation’s children would have a chance to unearth the capsule. A decision on what to actually bury hasn’t been made. At this time, Broadway is leaning towards an empty beer keg that can be cut open and then welded back together after all the items have been placed inside.

Broadway is also going to speak for a few minutes at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration weekend. He will be accompanied by Council woman Cynthia Ingram.