Bramlett urges leaders to remain proactive in leading Albemarle
During his final moments as a sitting councilman, Dr. Chris Bramlett gave a speech at the beginning of Monday evening’s Albemarle City Council meeting, issuing a call to the council to continue actively working to make sure the city evolves and grows while also citing several areas that need to be improved.
“Just because we have a lot of good things happening in Albemarle it does not mean you can relax,” said Bramlett, who narrowly lost his reelection bid after serving on council for five years. “Much remains to be done and I beg you to be proactive not reactive in dealing with the future of our city.”
He urged the council to broaden its focus when it comes to the city and the residents who call it home.
“Stop talking about Albemarle, start talking about and being concerned with greater Albemarle,” he said.
Bramlett noted that with all the people living on the outskirts of the city, who still consider Albemarle their home, the city’s true population is really about 26,000 as opposed to the roughly 16,000 that is often cited as the official count.
“Half of the population of Stanly County consider Albemarle home and all of them are your constituents,” Bramlett said.
He implored the city to improve its downtown, which he says is littered with “empty, underutilized and rundown buildings.” He noted that to visitors to Stanly, the face of the city and county is often the Albemarle downtown, since it’s usually the first area they come into contact with.
Bramlett said with the city’s economic development team coupled with the county’s economic development office, the Stanly Chamber of Commerce and other related economic groups, “we should have a much better downtown than what we have.”
He was free in his critique of Stanly County Schools, saying if the city plans to compete for new industries, “it’s doomed to failure” with the current state of the school system. Bramlett mentioned that the four high schools lack “a full complement of vocational, cultural and educational offerings” that would better prepare students get into colleges.
Bramlett has been a supporter of consolidating the high schools and last year he drafted a letter to the editor in favor of what he termed school “restructuring,” saying he would like to see two high schools.
“Think of how many professionals and company employees may work in Albemarle but will not live in Stanly County,” he said.
For further economic development, Bramlett encouraged the city to try and convince Albemarle Corporation, which is a chemical manufacturing company based in Charlotte, to establish a branch “in the city with which it shares its name.”
He concluded his speech by stressing the need for the city to do everything in its power, including buying additional property and expanding parking around downtown, to help Pfeiffer University turn Albemarle into an academic community.
“There is no finer place on earth to live than an academic community,” he said.
Bramlett ended his roughly 10-minute speech by thanking the council members “for being very important people in my life over the last five years” and wishing them the best as they lead the city into the future.
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