Greenacres asking public for economic ideas on how to grow city

By Kevin D. Thompson – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer via Palm Beach Post

GREENACRES — In hopes of creating a better Greenacres, the city on Saturday is hosting its first public input meeting to gets residents’ thoughts on how Palm Beach County’s eighth largest city can grow.

“We want to know from residents what they think Greenacres should look like and what our strong points are,” Greenacres City Manager Andrea McCue said. “We want to use that information… to come up with a strategic plan for the city we’re hoping turns into an economic development plan for us.”

The meeting is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greenacres Community Center, 501 Swain Boulevard.

The city hired RMA, a Pompano Beach based firm that has worked in West Palm Beach and Lake Park, to run the event.

Sharon McCormick, RMA’s director of business attraction and marketing, said the company will ask residents the following questions: What they want to see maintained in the city? What are some of Greenacres hidden gems? What should the city be investing in for growth and economics?

“We will also be doing a branding process, so I really want to understand what people feel about Greenacres,” McCormick said. “We can create a message strategy for the city to help them grow and prosper.”

She said RMA, which signed the contract with Greenacres in July, plans to be finished by the end of the year or early January.

For years, the city has wanted to grow its tax base and attract new businesses.

“We want to make sure the growth is really smart and that it works within the character of who they actually are,” McCormick said.

Councilman Jonathan Pearce said he’s interested in hearing what residents have to say.

“We have limited land we can really develop,” he said. “It’ll be more redevelopment, if I were to guess.”

In February, Councilwoman Judy Dugo told The Palm Beach Post she supports the idea of an economic development professional that will help the city build empty store fronts and to provide a lower tax rate.

“We all agree we want economic growth, but we need someone to bring us together on what the vision of Greenacres is,” she said.

McCue said Greenacres has been the kind of city people pass through to get somewhere else and she’s tired of that.

“We have a unique opportunity to be able to do some economic development in this city and to provide our residents some type of area or location that is walk-able where the are restaurants and shops,” she said. ” That will help us have an identity. I don’t know if people see us as a destination, but we want to do some things to become a destination for people.”

McCue said she’s expecting 200 to 300 people to attend.

“We’ve invited residents, business owners and students,” she said. “We’re trying to get as much feedback as possible. We don’t want a strategic action plan we can just put on a shelf. We want something that we can put into action and turn that into some economic development opportunities for the city.”

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