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Study for county’s new comprehensive plan underway

Operating on a Comprehensive Plan that pre-dates some major changes in Harrison County, including the addition of Caesars Indiana, county officials have taken steps to develop a new plan to help guide development.
The newly formed Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee held its first meeting Thursday at the Harrison County Annex building. Committee members are the nine members of the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission ‘ Tom Bube, Charles Crawford, J.R. Eckart, Adrienne Held, Jim Klinstiver, Joe Martin, Victor McCauley, Larry Ott and Rhonda Rhoads ‘ and at-large members Greg Albers, Phyllis Combs, John Dickerson, Joseph Gettelfinger, Rick Kerr, Ken Oppel, Dan Schroeder, Darrell Voelker, Robert and Roger Walker, Judy Wingfield and Danny Wiseman.
Tom West, the project manager from HNTB Corp., welcomed the committee members and led a presentation that showed information and ways of gathering information that will be used for the comprehensive plan.
‘I think we have some real visionary people sitting around this table,’ he said. ‘We’re going to create a good plan for Harrison County. This is your plan, not HNTB’s plan. You all have to own this plan.’
The committee will hold public meetings throughout the year at various locations to gather input from the community.
‘We need you to bring your neighbors, friends, enemies,’ said West. ‘We need to get people to those meetings.’
West offered an old proverb that he hopes will be the mindset of the committee: ‘We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’
One of the goals of the plan, West said, will be to leave the world a better place for the future.
West highlighted existing conditions of Harrison County, including having an interstate, a casino, a major body of water and a tier-two proximity to a metro area. The tier-two proximity means the county does not come into direct contact with the Louisville metro area, he said.
Doug Harnish, of Gem Public Sector Services, shared insights of his research about the county. One conclusion his presentation revealed is that the older age bracket is growing, while the school-age bracket is seeing no addition.
‘There’s no pressure on the schools,’ said Harnish.
In 2006, one- or two-person households made up 60 percent of all households in the county, and less than 40 percent of the households had children, according to Harnish.
Harnish said he sees the possibility for residential communities or condominiums in the county.
Harrison County has a broad base of occupations, with 70 percent of all residents above the age of 16 with a job, said Harnish.
‘These are very good numbers, very strong,’ he said.
The town of Corydon has twice as many jobs as it does people, but the rest of the county is the exact opposite with twice as many people as there are available jobs, Harnish said.
Small businesses account for the bulk of all business in the county, with 60 percent of the businesses with less than five employees, he added.
Harnish also looked at the average expenditures per household in the county. By 2011, he estimated that the county will spend approximately $3.4 million.
During Thursday’s session, the committee also looked at what is driving the county to change. Factors include growth pressure from Louisville, a new Interstate 64 interchange and the possibility of a new bridge over the Ohio River, all which could bring great growth to the county, West said.
The committee will meet again in mid-February.