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Series of costly studies aim to tackle Greenville growth

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Nearly $700,000, that's how much Greenville's city council is spending this year on studies for community development projects and it's four times what they spent last year.

A study on the town commons was completed a few years ago. But some taxpayers say they haven't seen any tangible results.
     
Improving the Tar River, marketing the city with a new logo, motto and brand, and making departments like Fire and Rescue more efficient. Greenville is tackling all of it through a string of studies that will cost taxpayers big bucks.

"Do you want good jobs in your community, do you want good roads? Do you want a strong future,” asked Allen Thomas, Greenville mayor. “Those things don't happen by accident."

This year, city council plans to spend $694,000 analyzing various community projects. That's four times what they spent last year on studies.
     
And it doesn't include the cost of actually making them happen.

"What we need to do is start working toward putting these plans into action," said Marion Blackburn, Greenville City Council.

City Councilwoman Marion Blackburn says the right studies can help transform a growing community's quality of life. But she adds some taxpayers have questioned spending so much money on studies when they have yet to see tangible results from previous ones, specifically at the Town Common.

"What the public has said it wants are bathrooms and concessions, kayak, canoe rentals,” said Blackburn. “We could've started on that with the money we spent on the Tar River study."

Mayor Allen Thomas says it takes time and even more money to see the full effects of these studies. But he believes they do make a difference.

"We're planning for the future, and basing our plans on what Charlotte and other best practice cities do because we're growing Greenville for what it's going to be, not what it has been in the past," said Thomas.

The studies with the highest price tag include the Tar River study and the Dickinson Avenue planning study; two reasons why the city says the cost of studies was so high this year.
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