Politics & Government

Warner Robins group hopes to plan city’s future

CENTERVILLE -- Community activists want Warner Robins to have one plan that can tie together all existing plans to help guide the community’s future for the next 35 years.

About 15 participants in the first meeting of a group called Warner Robins 2050 discussed their ideas Tuesday for better growth, an energy-filled downtown with businesses and housing together, and the need for public transportation.

One of the organizers, Cathy Silengo, said she doesn’t want to say what the group’s goals should be. Instead, she wants public input to guide the group’s future and determine the most urgent goals. Discussions about growth patterns, entrepreneurship and public transit dominated the 80-minute discussion at the Centerville Public Library.

Silengo said Warner Robins had plans for Commercial Circle in 1973, an area long sought to be the city’s downtown.

“We’ve been talking that for 40 years. We’ve been talking public transit for the last 20, 30 years,” she said.

Mel Hocker, another organizer, said he wants the city to become more attractive to younger people, such as engineers in their 20s or early 30s, to convince them to stay.

“There are lots and lots of plans,” he said, but the Robins Air Force Base plan isn’t tied in to the school board’s plan, which isn’t tied into the power companies’ plans.

“Everybody’s got a plan,” he said.

Hocker’s ideas for Warner Robins 2050 also involves what he called the WR2050 Collaboration Center, an area of about 15,000 square feet that would host talented, innovative people to work together on projects.

Jay Flesher, community development manager at Flint Energies, said the FireStarter program he’s launching could help entrepreneurs get started. That group is scheduled to see 3-D printers, laser cutters and wood working equipment at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Houston County Career Academy.

Warner Robins 2050 plans to next meet at 6 p.m. May 5 at the Centerville Library.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.