This week the City of Shawnee offered multiple opportunities for residents to share input as the city designs a comprehensive plan to guide its growth and development over the next 20 years.

This week the City of Shawnee offered multiple opportunities for residents to share input as the city designs a comprehensive plan to guide its growth and development over the next 20 years.

At the Comprehensive Plan Design Workshops the last couple days, residents posted stickers and placed comments next to ideas or projects they supported or would like to see more of here.

The ideas stemmed from input at the kickoff event in June when about 30 residents took part in a discussion with RDG Planning & Design to brainstorm issues, concerns and opportunities over several topics of interest.

Participants took on major topics of discussion like transportation; parks and recreation; housing; the downtown district; planned use and development; and community appearance.

Those efforts were then used by RDG to develop some unified goals to base a plan around.

RDG's Nick Klimek said dozens of residents have shared input at the workshops and about 150 have completed an online survey.

RDG's Principal-in-Charge Amy Haase said the responses have been helpful.

Shawnee Ward 1 City Commissioner Ed Bolt said he was pleased — albeit a little surprised — to see that the downtown district was No. 1 on the list of top priorities, according to a community survey data.

“I know we've personally been (supportive of downtown revitalization) but to know everybody else is, too,” he said. “That made me feel really good; it's very encouraging.“

Haase said another Comprehensive Plan workshop will be scheduled around September, after Labor Day.

“We'll drill down to some more specific areas, probably mostly downtown opportunities, and then maybe some corridors and neighborhood initiatives.”

She said after that another public open house event could be set for December or January.

Community Development Director Justin DeBruin said the city's last comprehensive plan was done in 2005.

He said RDG was chosen, partly because of its clearly defined goals, as well as its intentional focus on implementation.

DeBruin said the former plan was useful in two areas: having something to compare to when making decisions on each planning commission case; and making grand plans moving forward.

But this time around the city not only has its eyes honed in on future plans, but also how to achieve those goals.

“What RDG did differently (than other proposals) was its great detail and attention to implementation,” he said.

Local input

“An online survey is available for citizens at-large to go to the website to look at; it's five to eight minutes long, it's quite short,” he said.

The online version of the survey is available at shawneeplan.com. For those who would rather fill out physical forms, paper copies are available at 222 N. Broadway Ave. Residents are encouraged to take the survey.

According to DeBruin, the intent of the community-wide feedback is to gather input so an overall vision can be developed.

• What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a guidebook for the community. It provides a vision of the future for the community and lists the steps needed to achieve that vision. Based on the recommendations from the Comprehensive Plan, city officials can make decisions that will affect land use, capital investments, and infrastructure.

• Why is a Plan Needed?

One of the responsibilities of the local government is to plan for future growth and development of the community. The goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to address future development in a proactive manner, rather than reactive. Without a Comprehensive Plan, the community and government would be reacting to development changes — resulting decisions may not be best for the community and could be costly.

Watch for updates.