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Program focuses on future growth

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Lincoln County residents will have the chance to offer their input on the community’s future growth during a series of workshops on Monday.
Part of the CONNECT Our Future initiative, three interactive sessions are planned throughout the day to allow participants to share their thoughts on how best to plan for the region’s future.
The two-hour community-growth workshops are just one aspect of the 14-county, two-state project.
“Our region is expected to grow by another 1.8 million people and 860,000 jobs by 2050,” Lincolnton City Councilman Devin Rhyne said in a release regarding the workshops. “The goal of the CONNECT effort is to plan for growth by local choice — not chance. We’re encouraging Lincoln residents to invest two hours at a workshop and make a difference in the county for the next 40 years.”
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and coordinated through the Centralina Council of Governments, based in Charlotte, and the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, based in Rock Hill, S.C., the initiative has already conducted several local events, including open houses, small groups and a day-long visioning session.
Workshop participants will collaborate in groups of 10 people to map out the county’s growth, considering such factors as where residents will likely need to work, live and play, as well as the best practices to enhance and protect the local quality of life as the region grows.
“Sept. 23 will be a great chance to meet and work with people from across the county and to think about the future you want to see for Lincoln,” Rhyne said.
The workshops are scheduled for 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Lincoln County Senior Center on South Academy Street in Lincolnton and will all have the same agenda.
To register to participate in one of the community-growth workshops, visit: http://bit.ly/LincolnCounty. For more information on CONNECT Our Future, visit: http://www.connectourfuture.org.
“The ideas discussed and map developed at the Lincoln community-growth workshops — along with results from the other 13 counties in the region — will be combined with the input already gathered across the region,” noted the release. “From these shared ideas, four or five possible scenarios for the growth of the region will be created. These scenarios will reflect the different perspectives and desired outcomes that people have shared across the region.”
Citizens throughout the area will be asked to offer their input again this spring regarding which of the alternative-growth scenarios they prefer.

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