Friday, January 11, 2019

Davidson South Street "Task Force" becomes "Steering Committee"

After closing on the former Davidson IB Middle School property in December, the Town has wasted no time seating a "Steering Committee" of 16 people to help drive the planning for the project.  This took place at Tuesday's Board meeting.  The steering committee will be charged with leading a larger task force (that now includes all applicants) with recommending what to do with the 5+ acre property on South Street.

Steering Committee Members include:

Co-chairs: Matt Churchill and Elizabeth Martin 
Members: David Holthouser,Deborah Keenan, John Burgess, Lorraine Degree, Shelley Rigger, Marion Sekerak, Shana Erber, Lisa Koenig, Al Sudduth, John Griffith, Wynn Mabry, Susan Manning, Monica Galloway, Stewart Gray will be an ex-officio member, representing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.

The above list was chosen with an eye towards ensuring widespread representation.  Members come from existing Town Advisory Boards, neighborhood reps, and at large applicants.  According to the list provided to aShortChronicle which includes the neighborhood of each appointee, the Town did a good job pulling together people from all across Davidson with residents stretching from June Washam to Davidson Landing included in the group.

In what may be seen as an unusual move for a group that is tasked with moving "on a tight deadline to provide a recommendation for community space in the school building to the Davidson Board of Commissioners in March", the nominating committee decided to expand the list of overall participants.  Taking an everyone into the pool approach, anyone who applied for the Task Force will now be allowed to participate in what is expected to eventually be  number of sub-committees.  That will take the total number of people involved up to around 50.

Considering the breadth of experience in the applicant pool which included people from the development community, people with other government body experience as well as former Davidson elected officials John Woods and Margot Williams, these additional people could be used as a "force multiplier" in getting the job done.  The force multiplier point was made by Commissioner Jane Campbell who was part of the nominating committee that chose to move in this direction.

Speaking to the obvious risk of corralling such a large group to be effective, Mayor Rusty Knox said "I don't want this thing to bog down into subcommittee after subcommittee.  I'm still going to call it a task force because it's got a job to do, and we've got a finite time to do it."

Whether you call it a "task force" or a "steering committee", this group has a lot of work to do in a short period of time.  Importantly, their recommendations will be critical to gathering the necessary support for the project to pass a bond referendum this November to actually fund it.

Here's hoping this wide ranging group can be focused enough to actually do that.

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