Citizen Input Sought For Glenwood Comprehensive Plan

Glenwood residents will have an opportunity over the coming weeks and months to help establish a vision for the long-term growth and development for their community.

For the first time in 20 years, the city of Glenwood is putting together a comprehensive plan to shape the course of the future. The city is working with the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest Iowa Planning Council (SWIPCO) in development of the plan.

“This whole process takes like 12 to 18 months,” Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rachel Reis said. “We’re basically creating a strategic plan for the city of Glenwood and how it will be operating for the next 5 to 10 years."

Reis and SWIPCO Community Development Director Alexsis Fleener facilitated the first of a series of public meetings on the comprehensive plan Oct. 21. Five additional meetings are projected to take place over the next several months.

“The first meeting was going through what we have accomplished in the last 10 years as a city and what do people view as accomplishments in the last 10 years, but also looking at analysis identifying what areas we’re doing well at and what areas are we not doing so well,” Reis said. “And, then, how do we adapt to that.”

The process provides an opportunity for residents and persons who work in Glenwood to give meaningful input and feedback as the comprehensive plan comes to fruition.

All interested persons will have the opportunity to complete a survey once the format and questions have been finalized. The surveys will available in both electronic and paper form. Glenwood City Clerk Amber Farnan said information about the survey will be shared on Social Media and in the newspaper. Paper copies of the survey are expected to be available at the Glenwood Public Library.

“We’re just going to have different access points for people and try to find the best way to get it out to as many people as possible,” Farnan noted.
In addition to completing a survey, citizens will also be encouraged to attend future meetings. Dates of those meetings will be announced at a later time.

“Hopefully, as we move through this, there will be different ways for people to interact,” Reis said.

Reis and Farnan pointed out that the city’s most-recent comprehensive plan, completed in 2001, wasn’t as detailed as the new plan will be. The 2001 plan included goals for expanding green space and making some improvements to the downtown area, but no specific plans for how those goals were to be achieved.

“The old plan talks about downtown but it doesn’t really have a concrete plan on how to move forward, what they would like to see at some point,” Farnan said. “We hope to create an updated comprehensive plan and have a strategy to move forward to make sure we achieve those goals.”

Farnan said the plan will include both short- and long-term goals and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Some ideas from the 2001 plan, particularly when it comes to green space, will be updated and incorporated into the new plan.

“There is a whole section about the green network from the old one,” she said. “I know we’re also going to add in there the trails project that’s coming through. We would like to see that move forward and maybe some improvements to the park. We’ll probably go to the park board to see what their thoughts are.”

Reis said the new plan will have specific “action steps” the community can take to achieve its goals. She said several issues of discussion surfaced at the Oct. 21 meeting.

“Some things we talked about are walkability, we talked about baseball fields, housing – how we think housing needs to be addressed and how we achieve that,” Reis said. “We talked about different business spaces. We don’t have a lot of larger businesses coming in so how do we solve that? We talked about the overall feel of Glenwood – what is the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Land use, infrastruct-ure, recreation, zoning, water treatment and public safety are all issues expected to be addressed as the plan is developed and priorities are set.

“Is getting a new fire department building important? Is getting walkable streets around town important? Is having more housing that is affordable or apartments that are nice more important?” Reis said. “The plan will provide an understanding of what those priorities are.”

The Opinion-Tribune

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