Future Watch: Waynesboro

By: Meg Gatto Email
By: Meg Gatto Email

The last five years have produced an enormous amount of growth in the city, especially on the west end. That growth has brought in new money, which City Planner Jim Shaw would like to see continue into the next ten to 20 years.

He says, "We've fallen in this economic halo as you might say, of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and so we're picking up a lot of folks that shop here."

The city is making sure not all of the available land will be turned into commercial space by using a 20 year comprehensive land-use guide.

"There are certainly still vacant tracts. But we have to mindful that we're constrained in terms of available land," says Shaw.

So the new goal for the future of the city is to work on existing land projects, like the struggling downtown. Shaw says the dream of having a bustling downtown shopping place could be a reality.

"It could be a reality if there’s a willingness and perseverance in the community to affect that," says Shaw. "And if you look across the nation, there are many good examples of how people turn around their downtowns but it takes a long term commitment."

Mayor Tom Reynolds is committed to working on downtown while also bringing in new industry. He says industry is key to Waynesboro no matter the size.

"We continue to look for industry, small, medium or large," says Reynolds. "And it’s more and more difficult to attract large industry, but there’s still industry that’s interested in expanding or coming to an area like Waynesboro."

Reynolds and Shaw both say residents should be confident Waynesboro will remain the quaint town many have come to know and love. New growth will be handled carefully by the city.

Reynolds says, "We're not letting the growth get control of us, but we're maintaining some control over the growth."

According to Reynolds and Shaw, input from residents is the driving force behind the plans to make Waynesboro a shopping and cultural destination.

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