LCCF and LaGrange County Begin Collecting Data for Comprehensive Plan | Sun News
LAGRANGE – With the first three of six scheduled LaGrange County Together meetings completed, Octavia Yoder, executive director of the LaGrange County Community Foundation, sponsored for these meetings, said the meetings were achieving their goals and hopefully empowering county planners a road map. to the future of LaGrange County.
“I think it’s been a good experience so far,” she said Thursday afternoon at a meeting at LaGrange. “I have great conversations with people I’ve never met before. It’s an idea to get people to share their thoughts, their voices.”
The LCCF, working with LaGrange County, has launched a study that is expected to run for the next sixteen months and that hopes to bring together a wide range of options and ideas from residents of LaGrange County on their vision for the future of the county. The process will help create a new comprehensive LaGrange County plan that will help guide plans for years to come. Much of the information revealed will be used to help reshape the rules that govern the county’s planning and zoning department.
Projects of this scale are complicated, and to help create this plan, the foundation and county officials contracted with Planning Next, a Columbus, Ohio, company that specializes in producing such documents.
According to the LCCF website, LaGrange County Together is soliciting input from residents across the county through a series of open houses. These meetings will be of the same format.
The final three meetings will take place next week, starting Monday with a meeting in Topeka, at the Topeka Fire Department building, 180 Crossfire Drive. The fifth meeting is on Tuesday at Shipshewana, at the Wolfe Community Building, 345 Morton Street, and the last meeting Wednesday at Prairie Heights High School, 305 South CR 1150E, LaGrange. All these meetings start at 4 p.m.
Logan Strang, a planner with Planning Next, the company hired to analyze the data collected, said the meetings help planners understand what community members are thinking.
“We worked on the technical analysis of different topics, such as housing development, education, utilities and roads. With that, we also started this first of several public engagement opportunities to hear what the public has to share with us, things like what is working well in LaGrange County and what needs to be improved, ”a- he said. “After that, we’ll see how these line up with each other. We will see some areas where we have easy wins, and others that present challenges that we need to work on. “
These meetings are just a starting point to begin to create a far-reaching overall plan.
“Right now we just want to collect as much as we can. This will help us over the next couple of months as we begin to refine this data and see where we need to focus our efforts. Then we’ll come back to the community again to say here’s what we heard, or, is there more we need to look at, ”Stang said.
Attendees are invited to come to the meeting, view about a half-dozen graphics, speak with facilitators if needed, and complete a survey on the future of the county. The whole process takes about ten to twenty minutes.
Yoder said the reason for the more informal setting is to ensure that everyone
“I have good conversations with the people who come in, many that I have never met before. It is designed to get people to share their thoughts, their voices,” she added. “Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing their opinions in an open forum, but it’s a way for them to see what others have said and add their voice to it.
LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation chairman Bill Bradley said working to create a comprehensive plan for LaGrange County sends an important message to businesses looking to relocate.
“It shows someone on the outside that we are working on a vision of where we want to go as a community,” he explained.
Strang said that after the first round of meetings is completed, his company will begin to analyze this information.
“We’re going to start refining that information, learning where we need to focus our efforts, and come back to the community and say ‘here’s what we heard from all of you or is there more we need to look at?’
Exploring all the data generated by the meetings will take several months.
“It’s not a quick process and it has to take the time we need to have these conversations and get everyone to the table,” he added. “One of the great things that we will identify from these conversations is who we are reaching in the county and who we are not, because if someone is not represented, we have to bring them to the table. “