SPENCER COUNTY — The Spencer County public had an opportunity to write down their ideas and opinions for the creation of the updated Spencer County Comprehensive Plan. This was during an open house style meeting held on Monday, March 28.
The open house was led by Kay Erwin with The Spencer County Planning Commission and Spencer County Commissioner Heather Gries.
The open house was held at the Spencer County Youth and Community Center in Chrisney. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Spencer County community members had the opportunity to walk around the room and note their ideas on the poster boards.
The boards were titled with different topics of importance that will be addressed in the plan. Some examples of the topics are agriculture, parks and recreation, economic development and government and fiscal capacity.
The current draft of the Spencer County comprehensive plan is available on the Spencer County official website. With the creation of this plan, there were public meetings held to gather input for its creation. While the first meeting had a large attendance, the second meeting did not.
To encourage more public participation and public input, the planning commission held the open house style meeting. There were no speakers at the meeting and any ideas could be written down anonymously.
One example of an idea written down on the parks and recreation poster was for the addition of walking trails. Another person wrote down rails to trails, which is a nationwide effort for the creation of multi-use public trails made from former railways.
On the government and fiscal capacity poster, one person wrote down the idea to schedule meeting of public importance at 6 p.m. or later to encourage public involvement.
On the agriculture poster, one person wrote to continue supporting and protecting Spencer County Ag. base and noted that it was very important.
For anyone who could not attend the open house on Monday, March 28, a survey with the same topics listed on the poster boards was available online until Friday, April 1.
Public input is one important step for the creation of a county comprehensive plan. A discussion on this and the comprehensive plan as a whole was further addressed at the last council meeting held on Tuesday, March 15.
At that meeting, Amy Williams with Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group (TSW) gave a presentation on their work as consultants for the creation of comprehensive plans. The plans that TSW create help communities build actions plans that are detailed over a 20 year period.
Williams gave a presentation detailing the different steps they take when creating a comprehensive plan. She highlighted the importance of listening to the local experts in the county and having the interactive engagement of everyone in the community.
Holding the open house style meetings is one way for the county to gain that interactive engagement.
That presentation was just informational, meaning there were no final decisions made by either the council or commissioners on whether the county will be hiring a consultant for the creation of the updated comprehensive plan.
Next, on Monday, April 18, there will be a second open house style meeting held at the Youth and Community Center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This meeting will be in similar fashion to the previous meeting.
The ideas that the community wrote down will be compiled and then placed on the poster boards. Then, at the April 18 open house, members of the public will have the opportunity to classify the different ideas by their significance.
After both meetings have been held and all of the information is complied, the Spencer County Planning Commission will present the results to the Spencer County Commissioners by May 15.