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Get To Know

Southport Matters November ‘10


Revitalization: the key to Southport’s future success

Recognizing the need to revitalize Southport’s central business district, a few years ago the City Council approved a resolution declaring the area in need of redevelopment. A nine-member volunteer Consultant Selection Committee was formed with the following citizens involved:

• Steve Beals
• Pete Hildebrand
• Duane Langreck, AIA
• Russell McClure, AICP
• Greg Martz
• Joan Miller
• Brad Richey
• Carole Thoman, DDS
• RobinThoman, Mayor
• Paul Beery, Grant Administrator

With each committee member possessing a unique area of experience and expertise (including commercial real estate, commercial and business development, an architect, local business leaders and long time Southport residents with entrepreneurial experience) the committee solicited qualifications of urban planners and evaluated the submittals. A thorough interview process followed with three qualified finalists and a rigorous scoring method identified the top scoring candidate.

KKG Studio was selected to help with earlier works (Southport Economic Development Improvement Plan (SEDIP) and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)) that coordinate the community’s vision statement (drafted via neighborhood workshops and hundreds of hours of input) with a revitalization plan that includes the central business district and Southport neighborhoods.

The Streetscape project is intended to create a visionary, workable revitalization plan that will serve our community both now and 10-15 years down the road. The focus is to keep Southport… Southport; emphasizing our city’s unique traits while planning and preparing for our future.

“I believe that having a detailed and obtainable development/revitalization plan is vital to the future of Southport and for that matter it’s an important part of my decision making process to remain a resident of Southport. As a homeowner, I will make my final decision to remain a resident based upon the future I see in store for Southport. With no plan, there is no future or at least not one that I think I would want to be a part of. I would probably be better off selling my home and moving to a community in which my home investment could appreciate in value and where the town had the means to complete infrastructure improvements in a timely manner. Currently I just “hope” that my home doesn’t depreciate any further. With no plan, I know what will happen and I would have to make a very tough decision”.

Steve Beals, Southport resident with expertise in the commercial real estate field

Communications & Transparency: Getting Better All the Time

When I took office, I pledged as one of our three main goals to enhance all aspects of two-way communications between my administration and our stakeholders: you, your families, friends and neighbors. As the City’s customers, you deserve to know the vision of your community and the opportunities that exist for your valuable input and involvement. Like many broad goals, enhancing communications has several areas of objectives, including, but not limited to:

• citizen voice, participation, leadership
• the internal communications component of City employee voice, participation, leadership
• partnership with the business community (GSBA)
• quality of life concepts (recreation, education)

Great strides are happening in enhancing our two-way communications. The concepts of research, listening, sharing, promoting and educating filter through all of our initiatives and planned projects and programs.

Take a look below at a sampling of our various communication tools, projects and plans:

Distributed quarterly as part of the Community Connector, this comprehensive newsletter is delivered to every Southport household and available at several businesses around town. Each information-packed issue is evolving and getting better and better with each production.
It’s come a long way, baby! After years of lacking information, the City’s Web site is filled with various board and committee agendas, minutes, reports, City news and updates with more and various types of info added all the time.

These new messages will launch yet this year with a series of short, bulleted, easy-to-read “at-a-glance” communications delivered right to your inbox and posted on the City’s Web site (want to receive these messages? Send your eMail address to:

To do a good job, we need to know what you, our citizens – our customers – want and do not want in order to meet your needs and serve your interests in making Southport a Community for Life. The survey coming later on this year will be an important and helpful tool in helping know what is important and what is not important to you, your friends and neighbors. The survey results will help continue to build our roadmap for the future. Stay tuned; it’s coming soon!

With the GSBA’s Main Street Committee officially underway, an eNewsletter dedicated to sharing news and updates on the progress of our central business district and our overall community revitalization efforts is next. Interested in receiving it? Simply send your eMail address to:

Just like some of the most popular items out there…Kleenex, Xerox, Fed Ex (to name a few), communities need to capture their own identity too. To that end, a comprehensive branding program is in the works, including logos and the development of a Style Guide so all of our City communication pieces convey a consistent appearance with standard features and can be easily recognized.

Check out the related volunteer/citizen voice article in this issue for various examples of how your friends and neighbors contribute to their City. Opportunities abound for you to contribute your time, talent and energy towards improving Southport. Check out the article and think about how you would like to participate.

Crafted on various subjects, news releases are sent to our local media regarding events and community progress updates including Southport’s new CERT program, the recent Fall Festival and GSBA Car Show and other news for your information and benefit.

Launched this month with the first-ever award going to Elaine Norwood for her generous donation of property to the City, (see related article elsewhere in this issue), this brand new program is intended to recognize residents and corporate citizens who have made a significant contribution to strengthen and improve Southport.

How are we doing? What other communication tools would you like to see implemented?

Please let me know:

All Kinds of Meetings…All Kinds of Progress


Two different groups of interested business entrepreneurs and investors want to bring a microbrewery and restaurant to downtown Southport. This type of potential investment would go a long way to strengthening our central business district and perhaps, attracting additional retailers to our community.

A landscape architect, John met with me before the monthly Park Advisory Committee to discuss the conceptual drawings to renovate the City Park entry. The ‘rock’ garden entry has been an eyesore for years, with many residents commenting on the decrepit appearance of this gateway into the only city property. Enhancements are needed to this gateway, as it certainly does not lend an inviting look and reflects poorly on our community.

With strong family roots in Southport and professional expertise in branding work, Kim is assisting Southport in creating our Style Guide that outlines the use of our city and departmental logos, letterhead, advertising and publications. Branding is key to communicate vision and identity for any municipality.

Adam, owner of the Southport Antique Mall and I meet each month at the Southport Main Street Committee meetings to discuss improvement and support for local businesses and the central business district.

Police Chief Davis and I have a standing meeting each week to review current events and progress on Police Department projects. Recent topics included adding patrol vehicles to the department fleet and reviewing Best Management Practices (BMP) for patrolling Crossgate and Old Southport.

Lindsay teaches journalism and newspaper design at Franklin College. She has provided professional and creative design assistance as we improve the Southport Matters newsletter. Because of her contributions, this printed communications tool has a new look and feel to it, making it easier to read and more effective in delivering information.

Mayor Rob Thoman

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