Benson Continues Town Hall Meetings

The Benson Board of Commissioners continued to seek input from residents regarding the town’s Strategic Development Plan Thursday night.

Forgoing their usual meeting protocol, the board conducted the second of six monthly meetings involving the public, town officials and representatives from various agencies including North Carolina State University.

“In this meeting tonight we’ll be talking about logistics,” Mayor William Massengill told the audience at the outset. “We know that’s important because things involved in logistics, it doesn’t happen overnight and it takes a lot of money.”

Thursday’s session gave participants a chance to voice their concerns, wishes and hopes for key infrastructure elements.

“We really want to see good things happen to Benson, not just immediately, but in the long term,” the mayor said. “For those things to happen, you’ve got to plan, we’ve got to work with many people.”

Those in attendance were divided into groups focusing on various aspects. They included discussion of water, sewer and storm water drainage issues; roads and transportation concerns; and aspects of electronic infrastructure including broadband internet services.

Participants were asked to help identify key elements of each area. They were able to offer input on where the town stands on each element currently, what negatives exists, what current positives exist and where the various aspects are headed into the future.

Representatives from 14 different agencies, utility providers and state departments, were on hand to answer questions and offer input on the various topics covered Thursday night.

At the end of the evening, all three groups reunited and displayed some of the key points they developed and gave the town and N.C. State more input to consider before they come up with the final plan later this year.

“This is a great showing and we’ve got so much technical expertise to help us with things,” the mayor said. “It’s a tedious, long-term process and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you stop working on it, it doesn’t happen. When we plan for good things, good things happen. When we don’t plan, things don’t happen. I think what we all strive for is to be the best small town in North Carolina.”

There was one piece of regular business the board of commissioners did take care of and that was approving the purchase of a new pumper for the Benson Fire Department.

The truck, which will cost just over $450,000, is set to be delivered sometime early in 2018 after the board approved the measure unanimously.

The next meeting of the board that will be focused on the Strategic Plan is Thursday, March 30. That’s when they turn the attention to land use.

The next regular session for the board is Tuesday, March 14.

Both meetings in March will begin at 7 p.m. in the Benson Conference Center. Courtesy The Daily Record