Board retreats serve as starting points for new vision in Granite Quarry

Published 6:04 pm Monday, March 7, 2022

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen held a pair of brief planning retreats last week and last month to set goals for the coming year and a new vision for the town.

The town held its first workshop on Feb. 25 and a follow-up on Friday.

The first two sessions were vision- and goal-setting meetings, said Mayor Brittany Barnhardt. There will be two or three more sessions in the future to discuss other items, she said. Barnhardt said the town board hasn’t started its budgeting process.

“We’ve got a new mayor and the aldermen,” Mayor Pro Tem John Linker said. “We were making sure we were all on the same page going forward and what our long-range vision for the town is.”

During the first session, the town came up with a few pieces of their vision: managing growth, attracting people to the town, expanding communities, leaning on plans the town created for its downtown and parks, expanding the Granite Industrial Park site and adding community amenities.

“I really challenged our board members to take a step back and think about, ‘What’s the big picture here we’re trying to accomplish in the next five to 10 years,'” Mayor Brittany Barnhardt said. “To do that we really focused on what our values are, both between board members and staff, we talked through some of those things and we wrote sample vision statements in pairs.”

Barnhardt said this was forward thinking for the town rather than just diving into the to-do list. The town brought in Centralina Regional Council to facilitate the retreat, the first time it has used the agency for a retreat. Centralina brought back three options for a new vision statement for the town during the Friday retreat.

For its vision, the town landed on: “Solid as the rock it was founded on, Granite Quarry will be a growing, connected and family-friendly town that provides a high quality of life for all.”

Topics during follow-up meetings will include a county study on pay, police department retirements in the coming years, how the town can spend funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and creating separate positions for the town fire chief and public works director. Jason Hord currently fills both positions.

“One of the biggest thing we learned is we are all in an educational period,” Barnhardt said regarding the ARPA funding.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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