The year 2019 has been a busy one in Holly Springs with progress shaped by the Town Council’s vision as expressed in the strategic plan adopted last spring.
The plan’s purpose is to articulate the Mayor and Council's overall desired character and quality of the community while outlining the most important priorities for the organization.
Holly Springs offers an unmatched quality of life that reflects the joys of small town living in a safe, family-friendly community that residents and businesses are proud to call home.
To achieve that vision, the plan focuses on five strategic priority areas:
- Economic Prosperity & Diversity
- Engaged, Healthy & Active Community
- Organizational Excellence
- Responsible & Balanced Growth
- Safe & Friendly
Creating a Vibrant Downtown
In early December, the ribbon-cutting for Town Hall Commons was a celebration of the progress that has occurred, and is continuing to occur, along South Main Street. Creating a vibrant downtown is among the initiatives under Economic Prosperity and Diversity.
The highlight of the ribbon-cutting was the dedication of the building to the memory of former Town Manager Carl G. Dean. His vision for downtown revitalization is being fulfilled.
Town Hall Commons and The Block on Main, which is under construction next to it, will add roughly 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office spaces. Over the next 20 years, the revitalization of downtown Holly Springs is projected to generate $1 billion in regional economic impact.
Town Hall Commons and The Block on Main are part of a public-private partnership with the Town. To serve those developments and other needs downtown, the Town built a parking deck and surface parking lot adding hundreds of spaces. The Town also realigned roadways to improve safety and installed safer pedestrian crosswalks to improve walkability. A traffic light at Ballentine Street recently was installed.
Economic Development Director Irena Krstanovic said downtown revitalization started with the shared vision of Town leaders, the business community and residents.
“Through tireless dedication and hard work,” she said, “it has grown into just what we imagined.”
Meeting a Long-Term Goal
A few blocks from Town Hall Commons and The Block, construction continues on the 50-bed hospital that Rex Healthcare is building. The Rex campus is at N.C. 55 between South Main Street and Avent Ferry Road. Opening is expected in 2021.
The priority areas of Economic Prosperity and Diversity and also Responsible and Balanced Growth are reflected in the hospital project, which has been a priority for Town leaders for many years.
Maintaining a High Level of Public Safety
In 2019, Holly Springs bolstered its reputation as one of the safest communities in North Carolina while addressing Organizational Excellence in addition to Safe and Friendly.
Holly Springs was tops in the Triangle and third statewide in Home Security Advisor’s 2019 Guide to N.C.’s 50 Safest Cities. The ranking was for cities and towns with at least 10,000 people.
“It’s just recognition of what we already knew,” said Police Chief John Herring. “We knew we live in a safe community. We knew we live in a safe part of the county.”
For Herring, safest city lists bring to mind another set of numbers – the ratio of police officers to population.
“Can 62 officers create a safe environment for nearly 40,000 people? Not by themselves,” he maintains. “They have to do it in partnership with the community.”
That’s why the Holly Springs Police Department places so much value in outreach. Police want residents to call when they see something suspicious. Assigning resource officers to all schools helps build trust with students starting in elementary school.
2019 was a banner year for the Holly Springs Fire Department as well.
In October at a Town Council meeting, N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced that the Fire Department had achieved a 1 rating – the highest possible – from Insurance Services Office. ISO rates departments against a set of standards to determine insurance costs.
The rating places Holly Springs is the top 1 percent of all fire departments in the nation. Only 11 departments in N.C. have earned the rating.
A higher rating means lower insurance costs. Business owners in Holly Springs could possibly save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their insurance bills.
“This is a great honor and achievement for the Holly Springs Fire and Rescue,” said Causey, who as N.C.’s insurance commissioner is also state fire marshal.