~ by Rick Langenberg ~
A major $100,000 master plan project for the town of Green Mountain Falls is nearing the finish line.
Later this month, town leaders will receive the final product that could give GMF officials, residents, trustees and future elected leaders a road map for the community’s potential future for the next 10 years or so. More importantly, the blueprint will outline specific strategic steps for ways to grapple with such issues as hazard mitigation and wildfires, economic sustainability, infrastructure challenges, environmental and health concerns, road woes, development and even holding onto traditional roots.
June 25 is slated as a final presentation of the plan before elected leaders, prior to adoption, according to Kristy Bruce, an environmental planner for Logan Simpson, the Fort Collins-based contractor for the project. The comprehensive plan project began in May 2018, and featured a number of public meetings, and even had a group of school kids partake in the work. Also, the plan contractors did interviews with many community stakeholders.
The timing of the project is ideal, as elected leaders are gearing up to select a new town manager and address a slew of key issues on their plate.
Last week, the final input session was held during an all-day, open house gathering, orchestrated by Logan Simpson. A handful of residents outlined their special priorities among a laundry list of strategic action plans for the town’s future, with maps and huge reams of paper stretched across the council chambers at town hall. Most strategic steps also identified funding sources, a big issue of concern for the trustees.
Past plans have often given a pie in the sky outlook, with little prospects for realistic funding opportunities. However, the consultants have wanted to give the town more tangible steps to take.
Planning Commission member and long-time resident Dick Bratton, who is the project coordinator, lauded the contractors and the overall comprehensive plan. He cited their efforts in establishing a strong level of community engagement
“The contractors did a magnificent job,” said Bratton. “They did a lot of creative thinking and really thought ‘outside the box,’” said Bratton. “There was a lot of community input.”
As for improvements from past master plans, Bratton cited the subject of hazard mitigation as a big focal point. “That was something we didn’t have before,” said Bratton. This is a subject that was barely touched during the previous plan, done more than 10 years ago prior to the Waldo Canyon fires. This blaze led to the evacuation of the community for nearly two weeks and has sparked many memories and fears.
Bratton also cited land use as topic that commanded much attention in this go-around, similar to past comp plans.
This plan project also addressed such areas as infrastructure, traditional roots, health and environment, economic sustainability, tourism, development, and of course, wildfire protection.
At last week’s al l-day open house gathering, residents viewed a huge list of future enhancement for the community and rated their favorites. Some of the top favorites included *marketing the current fire station as an attractive new use; *studying the feasibility of funding a shuttle for tourists and hikers to access key trail area;*initiating a study for developing a better downtown area; developing locations for spillover parking; *having better signage to attract visitors from the highway; *updating the current codes to allow for higher downtown density to possibly encourage more apartment units; *establishing a recycling program; *pursuing more grant funding and having more information on resources available; *developing an activity area for children and youth; *developing a sewer system; having a better sidewalk and multi-use trail system for cyclists and pedestrians; *developing more wildfire education efforts; *setting up a better waste disposal site; *conducting hazard assessments for homeowners; *installing and maintaining roadside fire dangers and directional road signs, *establishing more defined evacuation points during disasters;*adding sediments and other material to improve lake water quality; and exploring a variety of road improvement options and contracting out services.
This is just a brief snap shot of priorities addressed by residents attending the comp plan open house last week.
Residents will soon be able to view the plan on the city’s website. They can also visit the contractors at www.logansimpson.com.
The meeting in late June will mark the last real opportunity for residents to comment on the document, prior to the adoption by the trustees. Funding for the project has occurred through the state Department of Local Affairs and by the Kirkpatrick Foundation. Not surprisingly, these entities are cited as a prime funding source for many of the above-mentioned priorities.