After months of preparation, Tuesday night Waynesboro City Council members got their first look at the city's new comprehensive plan mapping out a way for the River City to grow over the next two decades.
City leaders have taken the public's input, and created a rough sketch, a big part of which is a revamped downtown area. It's an undeveloped plan for an unpredictable future. Though long overdue, it's a rough sketch that Lorie Smith says starts with a thriving downtown.
She says, "A lot of folks are wanting to see the downtown be viable again and I think that the comp plan tends to address that very significantly."
The City Council and the Planning Commission listened intently to City Planner Jim Shaw as he described the comprehensive plan. He says the downtown area is the identity of the River City.
"There's still a great concern about creating a vibrant downtown and protecting the downtown area, and really capitalizing on what is perhaps under-utilized real estate," says Shaw.
The plan pushes to redevelop the Broad Street Corridor in order to attract a variety of businesses, establish design guidelines, celebrate the existing cultural centers, and manage traffic more effectively.
Shaw says, "People are listing access to sidewalks and green ways as one of the most preferred and essential elements in a community or a neighborhood."
Both Smith and Shaw say public input was extremely important in the creation of the rough draft of the plan. They say it took a city-wide effort to improve an ever changing city.
Smith says, "It's very encouraging to me to see that the very things that the council strives to promote and work on are the things that are being reflected in the comp plan. So when we get those things working in concert, we know we're doing it right."
City Council members were pleased with this draft of the comprehensive plan. This is the first time in more than a decade that a comprehensive plan has been developed in Waynesboro. A public hearing for the plan is scheduled for April 22.