Almost 40 Norcross citizens and business owners braved a drenching summer storm on Thursday evening (August 22, 2013) to attend the city’s first Visioning Workshop.
What began simply as an opportunity for the public to weigh in with updates to Norcross’ 2034 Comprehensive Plan turned into a community milestone.
Hosted by Norcross City Planner Chris McCrary and the engineering firm Jacobs, the workshop was set up to solicit public input that will be used to help update the city’s Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan).
"The Comp Plan is basically a guiding policy document for the City of Norcross,” explains McCrary. "It lays out the vision for our community for 20 years ahead and ensures that we have the right steps,
strategies, and policies in place to achieve that vision."
Other highlights:While envisioning their town’s future, the attendees did more than put ideas down on paper – they also made an exciting stride towards bridging the city’s cultural gap. In 2012, Norcross annexed in more than two square miles, dramatically expanding the footprint of a small community that had remained mostly unaltered for over 145 years. Overnight, the town’s population increased 71 percent, instantly changing its demographics from 6 percent to more than 40 percent Hispanic.
Hispanic community input:
Agustin Mendoza was one of those attendees; he and his family have lived in what was unincorporated Norcross for more than 30 years. As a newly annexed city resident and homeowner, he joined the small group of Hispanics who attended the Visioning Workshop.
It was the first time that Norcross’ Hispanic residents have actively participated in a "town hall" style meeting. They were encouraged by Norcross Police Detective Arelis Rivera, a native Puerto Rican who patrolled the streets of Chicago before coming to Norcross.
Rivera plays a key role in building the bridge over Buford Highway; with her support, Agustin spoke before the collective group that night. He spoke on behalf of his local Hispanic community, sharing what they felt are Norcross’ assets, as well as what areas need focus and the kinds of solutions they envision for their families and neighborhoods.
"I have to say that I am so impressed with the reaction of some of the members of the community that were present and congratulated Agustin on his efforts to address the workshop attendees in his Spanish accent," Rivera said. "I was so pleased to see the gathering of residents and how their ideas and concerns were so similar. It was an honor to be part of that experience."