City of Chester prioritizes needs

The City of Chester, along with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments (COG), has crafted a list of prioritized needs for the coming year.

The list is compiled by COG each year, with input from the city. Some of the eight items listed appear on the list nearly every year.

The first item includes revitalization of East Chester. This includes drainage improvements, demolition, street and safety improvements. Also included as part of the East Chester improvements are renovating the Finley Road School building to house community assistance services, job training and recreation.

The next item calls for an increased availability of affordable housing for low and moderate income citizens, particularly within the downtown area of Chester.

Improved living conditions for residents located in low and moderate income neighborhoods is listed, particularly the East Chester and Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Aesthetic improvements are a priority. The needs assessment lists beautification projects such as removal of slum and blight at gateway entrances, such as the Eureka Mill, in order to attract new residents, enhance business development and improve the quality of life for current residents.

Rehabilitation of the Brainerd Institute as a cultural Afro-American museum and further clean-up and development of the Springsteen Mill site are the next two items on the needs list.

Contraction and upgrade of infrastructure to promote economic development through the expansion of existing industries and location of new industries is listed as the number seven need and continuing to further fair housing in the city rounds out the list.

City Administrator Jeff Kerr noted that some progress is already being made on some the objectives, particularly in East Chester, which qualified for a pair of $500,000 grants recently.

By Travis Jenkins, Staff Reporter with The News & Reporter