Community Development Board seeks input from young couples
By Ivory Riner
It has been a busy year so far for Lewisburg. The courthouse was renovated, a new strip mall beside Walgreens is almost completed and cosmetic fixes like pedestrian walkways and new stop signs are to be installed. Edmund Roberts, chairman for the Community Development Board, wants to get insight from the younger generation about other ways to improve the town.
Over the next few weeks, Roberts is to gather six couples from the ages of 20-35 to answer questions about what they like and dislike about Lewisburg, something he mentioned at the meeting Tuesday.
He wants to get input from the youth who have moved back to Lewisburg after college or who are currently in college. He is to ask those who are in college what it would take to bring them back to Lewisburg upon graduating.
Member Pam Russell mentioned that the main jobs offered in Lewisburg are factory jobs, something that would prevent a graduate from moving back home to pursue a career not offered here.
She said her son Trey graduated with a music business degree from Middle Tennessee State University, but chose to move to Nashville because he wasn't able to find work in Lewisburg.
Member Bob Phillips mentioned that Marshall County's current household income is around $40,800, a number that is above Giles County's, but below Maury County, which has an income of $45,000.
"We have created a lot of jobs, but in order to take Lewisburg to the next step and bring in restaurants and retail, we have to bring up the median income," said Randall Dunn, Lewisburg City manager.
One problem for the youth today is that they aren't able to get loans for a home because they haven't established credit or have a lot of student debt, mentioned Pam Russell.
Dunn cited his plan to crack down on the housing code, something he thinks will improve the town.
One thing members Donna Roberts, Russell and Barbara Woods emphasized is the prices of homes in Lewisburg being half the cost of those in Spring Hill or Franklin.
Roberts mentioned an acquaintance who rents a 1,500-square foot home in Franklin for $2,400 a month.
A key factor they emphasized is that name brand shopping is a short trip up the road, something they think women need to know when deciding to settle down in Lewisburg.
"There are people who live closer to Cool Springs that take just as much time to get to the mall as people in Lewisburg because of traffic," Dunn said.
Concerns about restroom access for Saturday's Mayfest prompted John Murphey to suggest a requirement that anyone holding a public function on the square rent portable restooms.
"There is a pluming hookup for bathrooms behind the shed at the Public Square Park," Tina Lilly mentioned.
"It ends up freezing every winter and backs up the toilets at the Art Guild."
In ending, Leland Carden wants to work on promoting and fixing the 19 vacant buildings in downtown Lewisburg.
Dunn replied by saying a lot of people don't want to put their money in the buildings because they won't live to see the investment eventually pay off.