CAIRO — Officials are hard at work on The Cairo-Whigham-Grady County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

The plan was implemented in June 1991 and must be completely reviewed and refurbished every 10 years.

County administrator Rusty Moye said the reason for this review occurring in 2006 instead of 2001 was because the Georgia Department of Community Affairs was late getting the information out and allowed all entities to do a short term update, good for five years.

Cairo, Whigham and Grady County officials began reviewing the existing plan for the 10-year update in 2005.

The five major items considered in the plan are: economic development, natural resources, historical/cultural resources, housing and community facilities and land use.

The Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center, in conjunction with local governments, has already compiled a basic assessment detailing what are the primary issues and opportunities facing county and local governments.

“The assessment basically has listed issues and opportunities that all three entities have to face in the next 10 years,” said Moye.

Now the important part of developing a community agenda is underway.

The Grady County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday to discuss where the county stood regarding the comprehensive plan assessment.

Moye said the board expects to request public participation to go through the major items after April 1.

“They’ll compare them to issues/opportunities originally addressed in 1991, readdressed in 2001 and are now being readdressed in 2005,” he said.

Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said Cairo and Whigham and county officials have held several planning sessions with department heads to work on the plan.

Addleton said Mayor Richard VanLandingham appointed an executive committee to brainstorm action items and how those would be implemented within the five priorities.

Five subcommittees were also formed to support each priority and a chairman, vice-chairman and city council member were appointed to each committee.

Addleton said it is each committee chairman’s job to recruit three or four other people to join their committee.

These committees are expected to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

“What we’re going to do is work on the tasks left to support implementing those priorities,” said Addleton. “These tie into the comprehensive plan because some of these are short-term and some are long-term. These ideas that the subcommittees come up with, the short-term solutions, will dovetail nicely with the comprehensive plan. We want the city’s part to be meaningful and with some real action items. I think this planing session will help in doing that.”

Whigham City Council Member Jim Sellers said the county needs to address its growth opportunities and issues.

“This is primarily to make Grady County more attractive for companies or businesses who want to come in and create jobs,” said Sellers. “One way we would be able to do that is through zoning. We have it in Whigham but it is needed in the county. If we wait ten years from now, it will probably be too long to wait to do something. If we can do something to help control the growth that the county is experiencing right now, we can make Grady County a better place, not only now but for our children and grandchildren.”

Sellers said the Whigham City Council is in support of the recommendations that have come from planning sessions thus far, and has already submitted its goals, objectives, opportunities and issues for the plan.

These include an improved water system, improvements of cable television and high speed Internet, streetscape improvements and preservation of City Hall.

Sellers also said it was important that the citizens of Grady County take interest in the comprehensive plan.

“It’s very important that everyone take note of this issue and participate,” he said. “We’re putting this plan together now, nothing is final, and all input is appreciated and greatly needed. We need to work on this together.”

The finalized plan must be in the hands of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by October.

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