Small town atmosphere, major roads and agriculture are county strengths according to a brainstorming session that brought out residents' ideas, needs and dreams for Putnam County.
During the Putnam County Comprehensive Plan Update meeting Tuesday night at the fairgrounds, county residents came up with ideas on what were the county's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Project manager and planning director for American Consulting Steve Burkhardt informed the residents that he and his team were looking for ideas on how to move the county forward.
"Be creative and look for out-of-the-box thinking," Burkhardt said about the brainstorming session.
The residents were also provided with statistical information on what the county called a community factfinder. These statistics included population trends, commuting patterns, personal income per capita, and employment distribution.
Burkhardt explained that the information on commuting patterns shows the changes in the patterns over an approximate five- year period.
"You'll notice that the amount that commutes out of the county verses the amount that commutes into the county is greater," said Burkhardt.
This is not necessarily a bad thing because the residents who commute out for work are living here and paying taxes here, so some of their paychecks are coming back into the county.
As the residents moved into the brainstorming session, they were divided into six tables. At these tables, residents came up with their ideas, needs and dreams that would fit under the categories strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Under strengths, residents were to come up with ideas on what makes the county the best place on Earth to live. Residents were also to come up ideas on what needs to be improved upon under weaknesses, ideas that could be seized upon under opportunities, and ideas on what might impact the county's future under threats.
After brainstorming ideas, the residents were to pick their top three under each category. Some ideas that were chosen under strengths were major roads, small town atmosphere and agriculture.
Ideas chosen under weaknesses were lack of zoning enforcement, lack of affordable housing and limited government resources. Biofuels, agricultural preservation and improve land use regularly were chosen as ideas under opportunities.
Ideas chosen under threats were cheap land sprawl, Indianapolis growth/expansion pressure and lack of educational attainment.
The residents also voted on what they believed to be the most important ideas under the top three.
Putnam County is not the only county in the state to be working on its comprehensive plan. Boone County is rewriting its plan, along with beginning a yearlong study of the best future use of its land because of the new home and business development boom the county is experiencing.
County Planner Kim Hyten told the Banner-Graphic Tuesday that if county residents would like to suggest their ideas, needs, and dreams for the county, they can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next scheduled meeting is set for Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the community building. Burk-hardt and his team will be discussing all the residents' top three picks. The public is encouraged to attend.