Elizabethtown has not fully updated and rewritten its comprehensive plan since 2004. That’s about to change.
A comprehensive plan steering committee met Wednesday night for the first time and heard from Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, HDR, and EHI Consultants, who the city hired to facilitate the planning process for the plan, which includes several methods for community engagement.
Amy Williams, a certified planner with Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, said the goal of the plan is to articulate a vision for the future of the city and identify long-range goals and objectives related to various community elements, such as land use, transportation, utility, infrastructure, economic development, quality of life, housing, parks and more.
Williams said the comprehensive plan will be developed through ideas and feedback from the community, an existing conditions analysis and professional direction.
Opportunities for the public to provide feedback include a project website – envisionetown.org, which will be launched soon, online survey, pop-up public input display, source materials provided so groups can hold its own meetings, focus group meetings, youth engagement and two public workshops.
The city is hosting the first public visioning workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Pritchard Community Center. The workshop serves as the first opportunity to provide input for the Envision Elizabethtown 2040 Comprehensive Plan, and is set up as an open house, where participants can show up at any point during the allotted time and stay as long as they want.
“We hope to get as many residents, business and property owners, and other interested parties involved as possible,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory. This is a family-friendly workshop, so all ages are welcome. We are looking forward to everyone’s participation.”
At the conclusion of the first public workshop, the city will launch an online survey to capture ideas and feedback from community members who are not able to attend.
“It really is supposed to be a collaborative process,” Williams said. We’re trying to figure out what are the values and the goals of the community and how do we translate that into the next 20 years of growth and development.”
“It should go beyond just land use,” she added. It really needs to articulate those values, those big ideas that people want in the community. The things that make people say, ‘I’m not moving away from E’town.’”
At the steering committee meeting Wednesday, members heard a variety of statistics about the city, including median age, population, high wreck areas and more. They were then asked to list assets, challenges and big ideas for the city.
A few of the assets members listed included the Elizabethtown Sports Park, locations on Interstate 65, medical facilities, education, employment opportunities, safety, downtown redevelopment, military connection and nature trails.
A few challenges they saw for the city included a lack of nightlife and things to do, the lack of a YMCA, parking and traffic, future land development, poverty, redevelopment of the south end of town, drug abuse and mental health.
Industrial growth, more family-friendly venues, diversifying the economic base and creating pathways to more four-year degrees were among the big ideas members of the committee had for Elizabethtown.
The committee was put together by Gregory and comprises of residents from various backgrounds. The members include Steve Rice, Charlie Bryant, John Lanz, Sheldon Lackey, Daniel London, Juston Pate, Kelli Bush, Maurice Young, Danny Percell, Marty Gaddie, Jonnie McPeek, Diana Moore, Saima Nasir and Terry Shipp.
“This is something extremely important to our city,” Gregory said. I had the opportunity to go through and select the different people that we wanted on our committee. It is an all-star cast that is very talented and will have a lot of input and, in the end, give us a great plan with moving forward.”
The second steering committee meeting is Aug. 19.
Further information and updates can be found on the City of Elizabethtown Government Facebook page and Instagram.