CAMDEN — According to information released on the village’s website last week, at their most recent meeting Camden Village Council members approved a Strategic Planning Outline for Fiscal Year 2022 which focuses on three key categories: “Live,” “Work” and “Play.”
The information released explained the outline is “a result of collaboration between the mayor, council and village staff who believe the three categories encompass the goals discussed which allows them to seamlessly focus on each category to create strategies and measures to accomplish the goals set forth in each section.”
The outline noted, the process council followed allowed for council and staff “to brainstorm ideas and goals that will encourage further growth in Camden, while working in the best interest of the Village of Camden community.”
The plan, shared online, was broken into the three categories: Live, Work, Play — as follows.
“The Village of Camden highly prioritizes the need for people to live and locate here in the Village. Current and future residents are extremely vital for supporting Village operations and supporting local businesses. The Village was able to narrow down to the top five priorities that will help support the “Live”’ section of the outline.
“Owner Occupancy. Having a high percentage of homeowner occupancy is vital for a community as it keeps people vested in their property and the community. The more the owner-occupied you have throughout the Village, the more inclined they are to invest to improve the properly and the more inclined they are to spend their money to support the local businesses.
“Fostering Residential Investment: The Village of Camden now offers a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) incentive to the community that works to create and attract property owners to improve and enhance their properties. New investment in residential areas will help increase property values and keep a higher standard of living for the contiguous property owners.
“Property Maintenance: The Village is committed to ensuring the Property Maintenance Code is being enforced with the intent of mitigating blight and eliminating nuisance properties throughout the Village.
“Streets & Infrastructure: Ensuring the Village stays true to the replacement schedule of roads and infrastructure is a top priority. The Village wants to ensure the community has safe roads to travel on during the day and clean water to drink at night. With repairs being the inevitable, ensuring we are using the most efficient and cost-effective process is a top priority.
“Downtown District: The Village downtown area is the heart for small businesses that offer products and services to the community. Keeping an attractive and business friendly environment will help ensure the community has retail and restaurants for shopping and eating purposes.”
“The Village of Camden acknowledges the importance of businesses locating within the Village. The Village is working hard to create incentives to locate or relocate your business in the Village through offering tax abatement incentives, low costs, and essential amenities like high-speed broadband. The Village was able to narrow down to the top four priorities that will help support the “Work” section of the outline.
“Main Corridor Presentation: The main corridor image is a top priority with the intent in mind of business attraction and the overall image of the Village. The main corridors create the initial perception of the Village and could be a deciding factor whether to locate here or to come back and visit. The Village will be taking substantial steps towards improving the streetscape such as increased landscaping and improved lighting. The Village will also push to eliminate any blight or nuisance properties located on the main corridors.
“Business Incentives: The Village continues to work towards creating a bookshelf of business incentives to help stimulate growth and investment within the community. The Village is also aggressively pursuing improvements in amenities offered to businesses such as broadband services and potential small grant opportunities. It is extremely important to broaden offered incentives to help attract new businesses to the community.
“Workforce Development: The Village is committed to workforce development by promoting job training programs and certificates to help make our citizens more marketable for their desired job sector. Key partnerships with the local educational institutions will help ensure we have adequate skills needed to support businesses located within the Village.
“Marketing: The Village will have an increased focus in ensuring that all available buildings and sites are marketed with the hopes of attracting new development to the subject property.
“Showcasing availability will significantly increase the chances of attracting a new business and could speed up redevelopment and revitalization efforts.”
“The Village of Camden recognizes the need for community — friendly amenities such as an interlocking walking trail system and food providing businesses. the Village was able to identify three top priorities under the “Play” section of the outline.
“Retail & Restaurants: With increased efforts being allocated towards the downtown area, ensuring we have buildings readily available to new retail and restaurants is the inevitable. The Village recognizes the demand for these products and services to help support the needs of the community. Through utilizing current and future economic development tools, cleaning up storefronts and revitalization will be imperative.
“Recreation System: Recognizing the need of accessibility for the community, the Village is committed to developing an interlocking trail system to allow for easy access to parks, businesses, and the downtown area. Through guidance of Council, staff will be creating a Parks Master Plan with the intent of continuous improvement to the park system. Applying for park improvement grants will be a top priority for 2022.
“Events: As one of many ways the Village can drive people to the community, it’s critical to support the local non-profits who help organize and facilitate events and festivals. Partnering with the local organizations Will help attract current residents while captivating new people to the community to help support the local events and businesses.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr