RDG's Principal-in-Charge Amy Haase recently gave a presentation to City Commissioners about how development of the Comprehensive Plan is going.

RDG's Principal-in-Charge Amy Haase recently gave a presentation to City Commissioners about how development of the Comprehensive Plan is going. She went through many slides, explaining her focus on particular areas that will impact the city's image, quality of life and public services, and ways to approach them while organizing a plan for Shawnee's future.

This summer

In mid-June, Shawnee residents were afforded an opportunity to offer their views and suggestions regarding the direction they wish the city to go.

The City of Shawnee hosted a public event, welcoming impressions and opinions as the city works to design a comprehensive plan to guide its growth and development over the next 20 years.

Residents took part in a kickoff discussion with RDG Planning & Design to brainstorm issues, concerns and opportunities over several topics of interest.

Breaking into smaller groups, participants took on major topics of discussion like transportation; parks and recreation; housing; the downtown district; planned use and development; and community appearance.

After about half an hour of brainstorming, groups came back and reported their issues of concern, potential for opportunities and possible plans of action around their assigned topic.

These efforts will then be used by RDG to develop some unified goals to base a plan around.

Then-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.

The city's previous plan probably had less of a strategic element as its focus, Haase said.

DeBruin said the former plan, however, 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

DeBruin said scheduled events and surveys were lined up for feedback.

“The creation of several online surveys were meant for different groups,” he said. “What staff did was send invites to a variety of individuals from different sectors in Shawnee — government, education, nonprofit, for-profit, etc.”

He said groups of eight to 10 people across seven sessions had discussions, answering questions and giving feedback, at the early stage.

“The hope was to have as many citizens as possible come out, learn a little bit more about the comprehensive plan process, ask questions and really garner some feedback from them via some smaller activities,” he said.

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.

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