Public’s Ideas Helping Form Community’s Comprehensive Plan

Crothersville native Dan Kovert (left) of Stephen J. Christian & Associates makes a point to community members Linda Seal, Lester Kovert and Andrew Nehrt during the evening’s  small group mapping exercise. Standing at right is Ira Mabel of Houseal Lavigne Associates which is leading the comprehensive planning effort.

Some expected results and a couple of surprises surfaced when the second public meeting for developing a Crothersville Comprehensive Plan was held last Wednesday at Immanuel United Church of Christ.

Representatives of Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago shared information they had gleaned from interviews with community leaders, an online questionnaire and government statistics.

When completed the Comprehensive Plan will identify town-wide policies related to land use and development, growth and annexation, transportation, environment, community facilities, and more.

The 12-month long process allows residents to communicate what they believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of the community, and to prioritize what issues are most important for the Town to address in the near term and in the future. The planning process is designed to promote community involvement and encourage citizen participation.

“This effort won’t result in any ‘bricks and mortar’ changes but will be a plan which the community can use to apply for funding which will result in those bricks and mortar changes,” said town council president Ardell Mitchell.

Among the projects identified by the community included:

•Improve downtown streetscape and façades.

•Create a zoning ordinance

•Fix the drainage problem.

•Upgrade streets, water and sewer.

•Begin a community pride campaign.

•Implement a welcoming gateway and directional signage at the north and south interstate exits.

•Improve parks and add new ones.

Community residents identified top community strengths and assets which included:

•The community’s location.

•The school and fire department.

•The town’s long history.

•Affordable housing.

•Its own local newspaper.

•Low Taxes.

To no surprise, the biggest influences in the community are the schools, religious institutions and the community’s location, according to Dan Gardner of Houseal Lavigne.

Residents said public safety in the community is rated generally good but suffering from limited resources. Street maintenance varies within the community and storm water drainage is an issue.

Among the threats found to the quality of life were continued availability of employment opportunities, poorly maintained or vacant properties, lack of retail options, and loss of school to consolidation.

During the Wednesday evening gathering, members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee and those of the public in attendance split up into small groups with a large map of the Crothersville area and a packet of colored markers and asked to highlight areas of the community where improvements could be made and what those improvements would be.

The efforts from the local meeting will be compiled with continued comments online and presented at another public meeting later this fall.

Residents who wish to participate in an online community survey can log onto www.hlplanning.com/crothersville.