The next stage of the Community Strategic Plan — the implementation — kicked off Wednesday night at The Prizery with a call to action by community leaders who say Halifax County must do more to reverse its recent declines.
Working off that theme, a series of speakers talked about specific areas they hope to address: everything from educational and career training opportunities to expanding the local motorsports economy to organizing more community litter clean-up campaigns. But hovering above it all was a plea for citizens to get involved, and buy into the idea that Halifax County can captain its own ship.
“Change is disturbing when done to us, exhilarating when done by us,” said Board of Supervisors chairman Dennis Witt, one of three co-chairs of an ad hoc steering committee organized to draw up and carry out the strategic plan. “We have an opportunity to change Halifax County for the positive — to move forward, to provide all the quality of life issues we’ve talked about tonight.”
Roughly a dozen speakers talked about specific aspects of the strategic plan, which was guided by an Atlanta-based economic consulting firm, Market Street Services. The first phase of the process was a community assessment, drawn from more than 1,500 responses via an online survey and focus group interviews. Matt DeVeau, a Market Street consultant who has advised the 26-member steering committee, praised the level of engagement that local citizens showed in responding to the survey.
“The key to this type of initiative is to treat it like a team sport,” DeVeau said. “I’m very encouraged to say that’s what we encountered.”