10 Things We'd ♥ to See in Future Liberty.

10) Better Walkability: A town or cities walkability is defined by how easy it is to get to things, and how much of things are within walking distance. Liberty is already a great town with tons to walk to, but we'd love to see more. By converting streets into pedestrian only walking paths (or sharing roads by making them one way and using the other half as a sidewalk), closing Swannanoa Street through historic downtown, (can you imagine a cobblestone walk with cafe tables?) and creating a centralized town square with urban shopping, and safe walk-ways and foot paths extending out into the neighborhoods, the Town of Liberty might become more vibrant, friendlier, and definitely greener and healthier.

9) A Downtown Park: A centralized park, near businesses, and convenient for all. Not only is this functional but removing old defunct and decaying parking lots for trees, grass and recreational equipment will make downtown a place people want to go.

8) Traffic Circles: They're a hit in Europe, and they'd be great here. Many smaller intersections rarely have more than one car approach at a time. It cost drivers gas to brake and stop, and then to re-accelerate. Not only is it greener, but it adds character to the town. Furthermore the NCDOT claims they reduce "serious accidents significantly" as much as half. Besides, doesn't it just give you the giggles to hear "now entering round-about" on your GPS?

7) No More Power-Lines: Power delivery, and right-of-way is usually leased to power and telephone companies by the town government under contract. Is it too much to ask we lose the unsightly above ground power lines that dirty our beautiful skyline? Randolph Telephone has already embarked on putting their lines below ground. We should stipulate future infrastructure be converted to below ground so we can take back our sky.

6) Lobbying NC PART Bus Program: We'd love to see commuter train service return to Liberty. That's how the town got it's start, but we'd settle for our local government to convince the PART Bus program to extend service to Liberty. It currently stops in Forest Oaks at Food Lion, so it's not a huge leap of logic to suggest it could come here. Imagine the housing and job opportunities if Liberty was once again connected to North Carolina's public transportation infrastructure. I could leave the car at home, and relax on my commute while I sip my Xtra Java coffee from our quasi Quick Chek "Starbucks."

5) Strut our Stuff on the Highway: Why are jobs going elsewhere? Well no one knows we're here. You could drive down the 421 and never realize Liberty is a town with tons of restaurants and entertainment. You'd keep on going till you hit Siler City, or Greensboro where you'd begin to see signs advertising gas stations and food "Next Exit". Now, many times the businesses rent those spaces out on the signs through the state or an agency in charge of leasing the signs out, but it would make a lot of sense to use public funds to either subsidize this advertising, or educate local businesses on how to obtain space on a Liberty exit sign. After-all, when locally businesses win- we all win.

4) Stricter Animal Laws: Owning a pet is a responsibility, and in a perfect world it would be great if everyone loved their pets, but unfortunately many people obtain pets without full understanding of the commitment required to care for them. In Liberty, animals often run loose attacking other people and animals or infringing on the land of responsible pet owners- placing their children in danger, spreading disease or worse. Many animals after they lose their novelty become tethered to trees or on chains permanently, forced inhumanely to suffer freezing temperatures or sweltering heat while the owners are unaware of a particular breed's temperament.  While we can never completely solve the problem, it would make sense for our town to take proactive steps not only make our town safe its citizens but also for its pets. Requiring chipping and/or animal licenses, and expanding the basic requirements for maintaining animals who are outdoor pets. Over 30 states, and 300 communities have banned full-time tethering, isn't it the least we can do here?

3) Stop Sprawl: If we haven't learned any lessons yet, it's time to look at cities like Detroit Michigan, or Greensboro, NC whose urban sprawl has left vast urban areas in decay ridden with crime. Why do we have vast vacancies in our current shopping centers? Because of sprawl. Liberty should define a central business center and stick with it. If Domino's wants to bring in their store, it should rent a store downtown. We can also re-purpose business zoned properties as multi-use, including residential. Converting an old store into an apartment again puts people where the businesses are. It just makes sense.

2) Better Public Works: We're looking at you, whoever hired the blue-trash-can company. Toledo, Ohio learned from its mistake when it found out how people were disposing of the trash that didn't fit into the cans of their new robo-trash-truck service. They also found it cost twice the gas because the trucks had to go up and down the street twice rather than just once like a conventional trash truck that employees two people instead of just one.. Take a walk down South Fairview Street and you'll find the right-of-way littered with trash. Let's get serious, because one pickup a week is causing people to use "alternative means". Our recycling program is poor and barely open. What's worse is we're probably breaking the state law by placing plastic bottles in our trash. (let's be honest) We've got to make it easy for the community. Find an affordable service provider which offers both a recycling bin and trash.

Initiate efforts to prevent water shortages from future droughts. Replacing resident's water and shower nozzles with low-flow technology. I've purchased some for just a few dollars. Imagine the savings and security in our long-term water management by making these changes. Because of Liberty's older housing infrastructure much of the end-user's water delivery equipment doesn't even meet Federal guidelines of 20 years ago. Many homes would reduce their usage by at least 5:1.

1) A Community Liaison:  Out of everything Liberty really needs, what it needs the most is someone who can not only listen to the opinion of our diverse and multi-cultural community but be able to act upon it and work for small changes without a town council meeting. The other day I told myself "I wish Liberty had a RedBox, so I didn't have to drive to Siler City." I'm sure I'm not alone, especially since we don't have a video store any longer. A community liaison could handle things like this, contact the company, offer un-used public space for free to the company if they'd bring one of their machines to town- all for the betterment of the community. We need someone who has an open un-biased secular ear able to listen what residents believe would make their lives better. Someone who can bridge the gap between the many things which are so simple, and often free or cheap if we simple say "How can we do this?" Then make it happen.

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