Interactive open houses collected feedback on growth and development
While engaging the public in the early and late phases of a comprehensive planning effort is a typical strategy when creating and shaping a plan’s objectives and strategies, providing additional opportunities for public input can assist policy makers when deciding the best course for the community’s future. This second round of public workshops provided a chance for residents to review the draft goals of the plan and help direct conversations for future land uses, areas of reinvestment and areas of preservation.
Due to the size of the county and the importance of correctly planning for future land uses, the FORWARD Kosciusko County Team held two separate meetings at opposite ends of the county to involve as many citizens as possible. Each meeting was held past 5:00pm and was an open-house format with a small presentation explaining the project and our current progress. Project staff was on hand to collect input, discuss ideas and answer questions.
The meetings were held in the following locations:
Monday November 15, 2021, Syracuse Community Center 1013 N. Long Drive Syracuse, IN 46567 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.
Wednesday November 17, 2021 Mentone Town Hall 201 W Main St, Mentone, IN 46539 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.
The public meeting was advertised through a formal press release, social media invitations, and email campaigns along with additional marketing through the use of the Project Outreach Committee. The project steering committee, and stakeholder groups were also advised of the date during their respective meetings.
In total 32 individuals signed in using the meeting sign in sheets, although head counts taken at both meetings showed over 40 participates were present. The sign in sheets are included at the end of this meeting summary.
In addition to the public open house opportunities, all of the meeting materials were also added to the project website to allow for continued engagement and public feedback.
Vision, Goals and Objective materials can be found here.
Development Scenario materials can be found here.
The meeting was an open house format which allowed attendees to filter through the various stations at their own speed. Each station had opportunities for feedback. The open house featured three key station topics:
Welcome Station: The welcome station featured a sign in sheet and general project information including an overview of the process, project engagement platforms, current statistics regarding County demographics and socioeconomic status and preliminary community-wide survey data. Survey data was pulled from the in-process Perceptions and Needs survey and was intended to provide a snap shot of community feedback.
Draft Vision, Goals, and Objectives: The plans vision, goals, and objectives were the second station at the workshop and provided an opportunity to receive feedback from the public on the preliminary goals and objectives of the plan. This initial feedback was meant to give the planning team an idea of any topics and themes which might be missing, and begin to highlight specific strategies that should become priorities of the plan.
Using the provided materials, attendees were asked to make comments and suggestions on each board. Those comments are summarized in the following sections.
Growth Scenarios: There were four separate Growth Scenarios available for review at the workshop, each presenting a unique approach to future land use decisions within the county. These scenarios were based on existing conditions within the county, projected growth, gaps in demand, and previous public input. This exercise was meant to help guide the planning team in the creation of the county’s future land use map, identifying areas to be preserved or where growth should occur. Each scenario gave attendees the ability to see how changing polices within the county could greatly change the amount of developed land, infrastructure costs, types of housing development, and numerous other factors.
Using provided materials, attendees were asked to provide feedback on the maps and identify areas which should be changed or left the same. The responses, along with the provided comments, are summarized in the following sections.
Additionally, an introductory presentation was given at the start of the open session. The presentation oriented participants to the comprehensive planning process, the intended outcomes and the instructions for the public workshop stations.
You can see all of the materials using the links found below.