City of Rockingham leaders are seeking the input of residents to help them move forward in making priorities for Rockingham land use for the next decade.
The plan, “Shaping Our Future: 2012,” was adopted in July 2002 and expired last year. It served as the blueprint for most land use related decisions and special projects over the last decade in the city, and is being updated.
City Planning Director John Massey, who is coordinating the revision of the long range plan, had the City Council start by appointing the current eight members of the city’s Planning Board to a steering committee.
“Now we are starting the citizen survey, the link on our website went live today,” said Massey on Tuesday. “It only takes about 5 minutes and it will show us what the priorities are. We want to encourage people to take part in this.”
Residents of Rockingham can access the online survey by going to www.gorockingham.com and looking on the left side of the home page. There they will see a green button titled, “Begin Survey” described as, “City leaders need your help preparing a new plan for Rockingham. This new plan will play a key role in the decision-making process for City leaders and influence how the City grows and develops over the next 10-year period. Your thoughts and input will help identify and prioritize key issues in our community. Please take a few minutes to complete the online ‘Citizen Survey’ at the link below.”
There will also be a version of the survey mailed to residents.
The survey begins with questions about whether you live within the city limits or not, or how many household members you have and what their ages are. The next page asks you to indicate, among a list of issues or topics, whether they are top priority, very important to not important. These issues and topics include but are not limited to improving the highway leading into the city, removing empty and run-down buildings, diversifying the local economy, revitalizing the downtown economy and improving or repairing existing roads for better and safer driving.
The second page of the survey asks you to indicate your opinion — between strongly agree and strongly disagree — on issues the city should address, such as improving efforts to promote Rockingham as a tourist destination and sponsoring a 5k or 10k run in conjunction with a downtown festival. Additional questions follow and at the end of the survey there is a comment and suggestion box.
Look for the survey in your mailbox within the next two weeks, as city officials aim to reach as many people as possible.
“I’m impressing upon the citizens the importance of filling out the survey and getting it back to us,” said Massey. “This will help us in identifying issues.”
Massey said improvements people have seen in Rockingham over the last 10 years are a result of the last Land Use Plan.
“We had 10 goals with 60 objectives and all but five objectives have been accomplished or almost accomplished,” said Massey. “We’ve got an open slate right now. That’s what the citizen survey is for. This will help us prioritize. We did a mail survey 10 years ago and we’re going to mail a survey again this time. We’re trying to reach everybody.”
Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris said he would like to see more community involvement worked into the Land Use Plan, with the updated version titled “Shaping Our Future 2023.”
“I’m very big on volunteerism,” said Morris. “There is a need for different avenues for participation. Discovery Place KIDS which opens next month will have tremendous opportunities. The food ministries like Our Daily Bread need people every week. The schools need volunteers, too.”
Morris said focus should be placed on increasing tourism as well.
“We have done a good job as a county in recruiting new industries,” said Morris. “We need to better publicize our natural resources.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.