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Groom Sets Sights on Growth for Greenland

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January 6, 2011 by wcobserver

By Susan McCarthy

Greenland- Infrastructure improvements and increasing a sense of community are top priorities for Greenland’s incoming Mayor, Bill Groom who will be sworn in on Jan. 3 at the Washington County Courthouse.

Groom, who has served as a city council member for the past four years is anxious to begin working on plans to sell his city to businesses and development and feels a number of infrastructure issues need to be addressed to do that.

“We’ve got the location.  We just got to refine it where we can throw out the welcome mat,” said Groom.

Topping Groom’s list is getting Greenland residents to renew a one percent sales tax in a special election the city will hold on March 7, 2011.  He said the tax will help fund much needed street and sewer repairs.  Groom maintains that much of that tax will be paid by people who do not live in Greenland since much of the city’s tax revenue is generated from businesses located near I-540.

Groom said many improvements have been on the “back burner” since the economy’s downturn.

“I want to put it back on the front burner.”

He specifically says he’d like to see the city expand its agreement with the City of Fayetteville for Greenland’s city and sewer services.

“We own the sewer system and they service it.  Why would they upgrade a system they don’t own?” posed Groom.

Groom said the city also needs to determine which of the city’s parcels are “spade ready for a business to come in” and feels the area near I-540 in Greenland is primed for growth.

“The I-540 corridor…we develop that and it precludes Greenland taxpayers from paying increased taxes,” said Groom.

Groom said he feels like one of the biggest assets Greenland has is its school and that he feels the school’s new board and Dr. Charles Cudney, Superintendent, will make the most of the trend to develop small learning centers, something he feels Greenland already offers.

In the short term, Groom is hoping the City of Greenland will offer a Farmers’ Market next year and add an annual city-wide celebration similar to the one the city hosted this year for its Centennial celebration.

Groom said he’s looking forward to working with the new and older members of the city council.

“These people [new council members Greg Forrester and Eric Bryant] that are coming on are excited and dedicated,” said Groom.  “People from the old council that have remained have shown a lot of dedication.  They speak their minds.  By in large, they’re there for the right reason.”

Groom and the council will be faced with appointing a city council member to the city’s Ward 4 seat at their first meeting on Jan. 10.  Groom expects both Johney Boles and Brenda Reynolds, who ran for the seat in the Nov. 2 election to present themselves for consideration.  Matt Partain, who won the seat in a run-off election, was deemed unable to serve after it was learned he actually lived in Ward 2.

“I’m excited about the dynamics.  I think we can do some great things,” said Groom.

Groom said the businesses in Greenland generate about $10 million in sales.

“That’s kind of staggering.  By in large that comes from that intersection out that,” Groom said, referring to the businesses located off I-540 in Greenland.

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