Community invited to help shape city’s vision, goals

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — As the development of Jasper’s comprehensive plan pushes to a close, city leadership is encouraging residents to attend a planning open house that will impact the ongoing project and the future of the city.

That event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Parklands Pavilion. Community members are invited to attend to review and provide feedback on the draft’s vision statement, goals and strategies.

“This plan is the community’s plan,” said Darla Blazey, the city’s director of community development and planning. “We feel strongly that we want every citizen to have an opportunity to find out about what’s been presented at this point, but then also, we can continue to receive suggestions through the second phase before the actual plan is written and adopted.”

The planning process for the city’s comprehensive plan kicked off in August 2018. According to a city press release, since then, the IMPACT Jasper team compiling the plan has reviewed hundreds of ideas and developed its framework.

Blazey explained that during that initial phase, members of the plan’s steering committee identified four key themes that will be part of the final document. Those include growing the city’s economy and talent pool; connecting people and places; building a strong and healthy community; and investing in our neighborhood amenities.

Big ideas and goals for the future will also be discussed at the upcoming open house.

Information already collected for the existing conditions report — which will be part of the overall plan — includes demographic numbers and how they relate to the community’s existing characteristics. It also examines market conditions, employment numbers, housing information and more.

Blazey said the comprehensive plan will be a crucially-important guide to how Jasper moves forward.

“We have always been a forward-thinking community,” she said. “And by having strategies and planning in place, that helps us know the direction to take the community.”

Thursday’s event will be similar to a previous workshop held in September, Blazey said, which included the opportunity for attendees to talk to city leadership as well as write and share suggestions on interactive displays. Community maps could also be utilized, Blazey explained, to spur discussion about trails, parks and redevelopment areas.

The comprehensive plan is on track to be presented at the Jasper Plan Commission meeting in July. The commission could then potentially recommend its approval to the Jasper Common Council in August. If approved, its goals and missions would go into effect immediately.

Even after it is finalized and approved, changes will still be made annually, Blazey explained, to keep it up-to-date. She compared the plan’s necessity to a business’ need for a strategic plan — a document that leads a business toward its objectives and goals.

“It’s the same for a city,” she said. “We have to have thoughtful and comprehensive planning in place so that we can continue to be a successful community.”




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