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Town Planning Initiative Project progresses into ’22

Town Planning Initiative Project progresses into ’22 Town Planning Initiative Project progresses into ’22
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

Progress is being made in a project designed to help Harrison County’s incorporated towns develop a comprehensive plan and an asset management plan.

Julie Moorman, president/CEO of the Harrison County Community Foundation, and her “dynamic duo” of Jill Saegesser and Amy Williams, gave the Harrison County Board of Commissioners on the Town Planning Initiative Project during its meeting Monday morning at the government center in Corydon.

“As you all know, this is part of the Lilly Endowment (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) Implementation Grant, with support from the Foundation,” Moorman said.

The project was started in August of last year.

“We’re really excited about the progress,” Moorman said.

Saegesser told the commissioners that the firm she works for, The Wheatley Group LLC, and Williams’, Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, responded to a request for proposals by the Foundation regarding the project.

“We were fortunate enough to be awarded that contract … ” Saegesser said, with The Wheatley Group taking on the management aspect of the project and TSW doing the actual comprehensive plan.

“There are 10 towns that we’re hoping to assist with comprehensive plans and also asset management plans,” Saegesser said.

She noted later in the meeting that some communities as just beginning to grasp what a comprehensive plan is, while others, such as Laconia, already have a comprehensive plan.

“So they might be basically updating that one,” Saegesser added.

A comprehensive plan outlines goals and objectives a community would like to accomplish and how residents would like their town to look in the future, while an asset management plan helps communities when applying for funding, such as with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation’s Community Crossings grants.

Besides working to update Laconia’s comprehensive plan, initial work began last year for the towns of Lanesville and New Middletown.

Corydon, Laconia and New Middletown also completed and approved asset management plans, Saegesser said.

“New Middletown and Laconia are planning to pursue INDOT Community Crossing funding in 2022,” she said, noting neither town had ever applied for INDOT funds. “They’re very excited for the opportunity (to apply).”

Saegesser said they were unsure what the response would be in the initial communities as they started this process. However, everyone has been “pleasantly surprised” by the participation to date in Lanesville and New Middletown. She said more than 50 people responded to the public input session in Lanesville and 30-plus people from New Middletown participated.

The start of the comprehensive planning process will move into Mauckport and Crandall yet this year followed by Elizabeth and Milltown in 2023.

Lanesville, Mauckport, New Amsterdam and Palmyra are scheduled to have their asset management plans completed for approval by Dec. 1, while Crandall, Elizabeth and Milltown will finish theirs in 2023.

“The other thing we wanted to make sure you are aware of is, with the exception of Corydon, the majority of the other towns fall underneath the Harrison County Plan Commission and, therefore, county jurisdiction,” Saegesser said.

Final plans will be presented to the towns “so they can have ownership of them,” Saegesser said, “but we will also need to take them to the Harrison County Plan Commission to adopt and (they) will eventually come back to this board to adopt and add into your plan and documents as well.

“So, this won’t be the last time you see us,” she added. “As the year goes on, you’ll see us a little more.”

Commissioner Nelson Stepro asked if any of the towns already have an idea of what they’d like to.

“Corydon has a lot of goals and objectives they set forth in 2016 they’ve already checked off and are looking at some new things and moving forward,” Saegesser said, adding that other communities are just getting started.

Taylor Seifker Williams developed a website, www.harrisoncountytownplanning.com/, that includes a page for each of the 10 towns that contains information, including upcoming public events and information that has been distributed

“It’s just a go-to point,” Saegesser said, explaining how the pages will have a similar look but the objectives and goals will be determined for each community.

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