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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Committee looks 20 years ahead into county's future

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A vision statement for where Putnam County will be in the next 20 years was finalized by the Steering and Planning Committee at Thursday's meeting in the Courthouse Annex.

Last year, the committee, along with representatives from American Consulting, conducted public forums to find out where residents believed the county would be in the next 20 years and what they would like to do to preserve things the way they currently are. At these forums, residents came up with vision statements and different goals for several categories.

At Thursday' s meeting, the committee was presented with a final draft copy of the vision statement. The committee was encouraged to read through the statement to make sure things were correct as previously discussed.

Basically, the 20-years vision statement informs future residents of the county how residents from the past had "worked diligently to establish and maintain the integrity of its small towns, rural character, unique assets and thriving agriculture while providing a healthy environment and quality of life for future growth and prosperity."

The vision statement was divided into four parts: Development Standards, Government, Infrastructure/Resources and Economic Develop-ment. It also says that "the residents identify the value of their community with regard to the future."

There were a couple of sections in the statement that caused some concerns for the committee members. One of those sections was about the natural resources.

Both Larry Jones and Chris Mann agreed that farmland should be added as a natural resource, while Bill Dory worried about using the word "preserving" when it comes to mineral and timber.

The committee finally agreed to restructure the sentence to say, "The productive landscape of the county, including wetlands, farmlands, minerals and timber, have been effectively managed by introducing development standards to ensure that they continue to exist into future generations."

Another section that caused some concerns were the words "agricultural industry." Greencastle planner Shannon Norman said she believed that the county "strongly supports a thriving agricultural industry," muddies the sentence. County Soil and Water District director Sue Crafton suggested adding that part to the following sentence for a better flow.

Now the sentences state, "Putnam County has continued to preserve and enhance its agricultural roots. The county continues to work to protect viable farmland, to support a thriving agricultural industry, to develop and enhance the profitability of agriculture through agricultural support services and developing economic development partnerships that increase the demand for locally produced agricultural commodities."

After correcting the changes to the vision statement, the committee members worked on breaking the statement down into goals. The goals will be organized around sub-categories from the statement.

The committee, with the help of the representatives from American Consulting, came up with some goals for development standards and infrastructure/ resources.

The goals under development standards include continuing to have an updated and effective master plan, targeting development toward existing communities and infrastructures, developing standards for multi modal access/circulation capacity like public transit and focusing commercial development and key nodes /intersections.

The goals under infrastructure/resources include continuing development of interconnected trail system, developing advanced telecommunication capacity, establishing a clean air/water plan, establishing a county wide park board/park system and cooperate with existing agencies and developing wellhead and related protection plans.

The Steering Commit-tee will meet again Tuesday, April 3 at 6 p.m. in the Courthouse Annex.

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