Public Input Date- Nov. 15, 2011

So, the date has been set for a large community input meeting.

November 15, 2011 at 6pm at the Jasper Co. Community Center

So… maybe you think to yourself:

  • I don’t even know what a Comprehensive Plan is!
  • Why should I attend this meeting on the 15th?
  • Meetings drag on forever, and I’m a busy person.
  • What if I have plans already that night, does that mean my voice doesn’t get heard?

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

In short- its a road map for direction in which we want the City to go.  It covers a broad range of topics such as housing, economic development, land use, community character, hazard mitigation, education, and so on.  Once completed, it is the document which provides elected officials the guidance on what the community wants when specific proposals or questions arise.

Your Participation is IMPORTANT!

We are working hard to provide multiple ways for citizens to participate in the planning process.  We want to know your thoughts, opinions, and ideas!  November 15th will be the big community input meeting where you will have the opportunity to work on specific subjects and provide us your ideas.

Your Time is Precious.

Everyone is busy these days!  We understand that.  That is why the meeting on the 15th is scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm and targeted to end by 7:30.  Don’t stay home if you can’t stay the whole time!  Come, even if you have to leave early!

Oh No! I Can’t Come on the 15th!

Don’t worry!  Community Development staff will hold some follow-up “copy-cat” meetings to offer some alternate times to citizens who are unable to attend on November 15th.  Two Alternate meetings will be held: Thursday, November 17th at 12:00pm (noon) in the Council Chambers at Newton City Hall and Thursday, December 1st at 5:00 pm at the Newton Arboretum.

Finally, if meetings aren’t your thing, we still want to hear your thoughts and opinions. In a few short weeks, a city-wide survey will be launched.  In addition, you can always feel free to give the Community Development Department a call-  we’ll listen to your thoughts and take notes!

~Erin Chambers, Development Planner

Facebook Question of the Week

Don’t forget to visit the Newton’s Future Facebook page.  Every Monday, a new “Question of the Week” will be posted.

This week we asked:

In a recent on Newton story aired nationally on Public Radio, reknowned sociologist Richard Florida said two things- “A community will never win an economic development race by trying to bring back the people that left.” and “The places that are successful offer something for the people that grew up there, and they offer something for new people.” What are your thoughts are these two statements? What things would best help maintain and grow Newton’s population?

Go to the Facebook Page and post your answer to the question!

~Erin Chambers, Development Planner

Chamber Breakfast Mini-Survey Results

At last week’s Chamber Breakfast, attendees filled out a quick little survey. 

The questions were:

1.)  What images or words come to mind when you think about Newton in the year 2020?

2.)  In your opinion, what should the top three priority topics/areas of discussion for the plan be?  (choose 3)

Housing, Sustainability, Occupational Diversity, Land Use, Education, Renewable Energy, Attitude/Identity, Revitalization, Transportation, Community Character, Economic Development, Natural Resources, Health Care, Hazard Mitigation, Intergovernmental Collaboration, Marketing

While we are still organizing the responses to the first question, we have already tallied the results for the second question.  The top three topic areas, according to the attendees at the Chamber Breakfast, are…. (drum roll)

Economic Development, Attitude/Identity, and Community Character.

~Erin Chambers, Newton Development Planner

Chamber Breakfast

A great big “THANKS” goes to Newton Chamber of Commerce for having Newton’s Future provide the program at the breakfast this morning!  What a great turn out!

If you missed the program or would like to take a second look at the presentation, you can view it here:  Newton’s Future, Chamber Breakfast Presentation.  (Just below the presentation and to the right of the play button, there is a “More” tab, click on that to select the Autoplay feature for the presentation.)

~Erin Chambers, Newton Development Planner

Welcome!

Hello!  Welcome to the official page for the Newton’s Future: A Comprehensive Planning Effort.

During the 2010 Legislative Session, the Iowa Legislature enacted Senate File 2389, outlining Iowa Smart Planning.  In July 2010, the Rebuild Iowa Office launched the Iowa Smart Planning: Local Comprehensive Planning Grant Program.  Newton received grant funding through this program to assist in the completion of a new Comprehensive Plan for our community.

The current Future Land Use and Transportation Plan was adopted in 1997- 14 years ago.  The current plan is a generic document that doesn’t provide real guidance to the tough questions.  In addition, the community has experienced significant change since that time.  In many ways, Newton was a very different place 14 years ago.

Since there isn’t a strong and relevant comprehensive plan in place, Newton has been moving along with an incremental planning style that is, for the most part, a poor approach to community transformation.

Bonestroo/Stantec has been selected as the consultant to assist the community in the planning effort.  Stay tuned to this website to find out more about the consultant, Iowa Smart Planning, and the extensive planning process.

~Erin Chambers, Newton Development Planner