- By Michael Cooper Staff Writer
A task force will be created to oversee a recently updated road map for the future of Clark County transportation, housing and development.
Connect Clark County — a local group that worked to update the county’s Crossroads Comprehensive Plan — has held public meetings over the past year to allow residents to provide more input into the county’s future growth and development.
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The new plan is the first update to the comprehensive plan in 19 years. It’s a long-term strategic vision used by the city and county to guide future transportation, housing and economic development projects.
More than 2,500 comments were provided as part of the plan’s update over the past year, said Cory Lynn Golden, a transportation planner with the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.
Two members of both the Clark County Planning Commission and the Springfield City Planning Board will serve on the task force, Golden said. An at-large member will also be appointed by those four members.
“We obviously need a driver to make sure that this document gets implemented,” Golden said.
The recommendations must be defined clearly as to how they’re going to be measured in the future, City Commissioner David Estrop said at last month’s TCC meeting.
“This was a very lengthy, detailed set of action items,” TCC Director Scott Schmid said. “I think there’s a lot of challenges with some of them to work out how we’re going to accomplish them or how they should be worded within there to make them attainable.”
A final version of the 99-page plan is expected to head to the Springfield City Commission and Clark County Commission in the next two months. The finalized plan isn’t a legally binding document, but will be used as a tool by different local boards, including the Springfield City Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals.
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.
Several projects have been recommended as part of the plan, including a downtown entertainment district, a program aimed at keeping young people in Clark County and school pride initiatives.
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.
The city of Springfield and the Chamber of Greater Springfield also are pursuing a housing study as part of the plan, Golden said.
A draft map of areas designated for potential development has 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.
To view the full proposal, log on to ConnectClarkCounty.org.
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