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Clark County plan includes entertainment district, youth programs

A downtown entertainment district, a program aimed at keeping young people in Clark County and school pride initiatives have all been suggested as part of a long-term strategic planning effort.

Connect Clark County — a local group working to update the county’s land use plan — held a public meeting Tuesday evening to allow residents to provide more input into the county’s future growth and development.

EARLIER COVERAGE: New plan seeks to make Clark County a good place to live, work

The new plan is the first update to the county plan in 19 years. The Crossroads Comprehensive Plan is a long-term strategic vision used by the city and county as a road map for future transportation, housing and economic development projects.

Four goals and objectives have been drafted as part of the plan — strengthening physical character, advancing economic prosperity, enhancing quality of life and improving infrastructure. At the meeting, more than 79 recommendations surrounding those four themes were discussed.

“This is close to final,” Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee Transportation Planner Cory Lynn Golden said. “We’re hoping to make (text changes) and not substantive changes.”

RELATED: Clark County, Springfield continue land use plan update process

A final version of the 99-page land use plan is expected to head to the Springfield City Commission and Clark County Commission next month. The draft plan is expected to be discussed with those boards at their meetings next week.

The finalized plan isn’t a legally binding document, but will be used as a planning and zoning document by different local boards, including the Springfield City Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals.

Other recommendations included creating countywide blight abatement guidelines, initiating a labor force recruitment program, developing a countywide program to grow unique, food-related entrepreneurial ventures and developing access management guidelines for use by local agencies to alleviate traffic congestion.

“It’s all good and I’m hoping they can implement half of what they’ve got up there,” Springfield resident Madge Morris said. “It’s very vast but these are great ideas.”

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Morris wants to see transportation improved in Springfield and Clark County.

“If you don’t drive, you’re in trouble,” Morris said. “The elderly have a lot of problems. They want to build places, but how are they supposed to get there? They don’t want them to drive but we don’t have transportation.”

While Springfield has nice stores, she said she routinely shops in Beavercreek for certain items, like a dress or shoes.

“I buy what I can (here),” Morris said.

A draft map of areas designated for potential development has also been created as part of the plan. The map includes eight key areas, including several already developed such as the Upper Valley Mall, the Clark County Fairgrounds and the shopping corridors of Bechtle Avenue, South Limestone Street and the eastern edge of Springfield along U.S. 40.

The map also includes areas of opportunities designated for nine broad concepts, such as agricultural preservation, community investment, neighborhood stabilization and economic growth.

Columbus-based consulting firm Planning NEXT was hired last year to perform the $214,000 project. The city of Springfield, Clark County and the TCC are sharing the cost to update the plan. The TCC will pay $141,000, while the county will pay about $43,000 and the city will pay about $30,000.

The group also held public meetings in February and September that saw about 600 people in attendance and 2,000 suggestions provided for the plan.

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