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Muskingum County Planning Commission begins work on comprehensive plan

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Muskingum County Planning Commission begins work on comprehensive plan

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

Tuesday evening, roughly 60 people throughout the community gathered to take part in the 10-year comprehensive plan for the county.

The evening kicked-off with introductions and an overview of what the comprehensive plan will do for the community.

The first comprehensive plan for Muskingum County was set forth in 1974 by Hurley, Schnaufer and Associates. The second plan was outlined between 2006 and 2008. Now, 10.5 years later, it’s time for a new comprehensive plan for the community.

By utilizing community members’ areas of interest and expertise within sub-committees, the planning commission is hoping to have a new comprehensive plan drafted, edited and ready to present to the county commissioners by the end of the year.

“My goals for it are to get as many people involved with this from their specific disciplines and get as much input as we can to make a good, operable plan for the county moving forward,” Andy Roberts, Director of the Planning Commission, said.

Before the present community members split into sub-committees, each person was given a pad of sticky notes to write down ideas of what they envisioned for Muskingum County in, or by, the year 2029 — things they wanted more or less of, general ideas, specific suggestions, etc. Then each person put their suggestions onto large pieces of paper with categories of the sub-committees.

Committees include:

  • Agricultural
  • Commercial, Industrial and Retail Development
  • Communications and Technology
  • Education
  • Emergency Services and Law Enforcement
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Natural Resources
  • Parks and Green Spaces
  • Tourism and Cultural and Historical Resources
  • Transportation
  • Housing and Rural Development

Each person was able to choose the group they felt they best belonged to or had the most knowledge of in order to utilize their skills in adding to the comprehensive plan.

“I feel this is a way for us to allocate resources in a priority manner, I guess, looking at what people find important and trying our best to take this plan and then overlay it with the funding resources,” Muskingum County Commissioner Mollie Crooks said.

While many of the people in attendance were specifically invited due to their knowledge and involvement in the community, Crooks said the group is diverse and represents many aspects of the community. She added that the only demographic particularly underrepresented was young adults, with just a few scattered throughout the crowd.

The leaders of the comprehensive plan felt it was important to have community members build and draft the plan rather than a third-party agency as the people within the community know the county better than anyone.

“Professionally, it’s vital for the future of industry and commerce in our community to have these type of meetings so we can prepare for future industries, future growth,” Dana Matz, President of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, said. “Personally, I’m from here. I don’t plan on moving, and I feel strongly if you’re going to be here, you don’t have a right to complain if you’re not trying to be part of the solution as well.”

Once the plan is drafted and approved by the commissioners, Roberts said the hope for the plan is to help collect funding to act on the initiatives laid forth.

When getting grants and funding from the state, Roberts said communities and counties that have a comprehensive plan can be awarded for their efforts in having an up-to-date plan.

Additionally, the plan will help attract companies and outside economic development to the area.

“For economic development, a lot of times when a large corporation comes into the community they start asking questions like, you know, what are the community’s goals,” Roberts said. “We’ve been able to work with the port authority and the chamber by using these plans … it shows that we’re proactive.”

Those who could not make it to the meeting Tuesday are encouraged to watch for announcement of when subcommittees are meeting or contact Andy Roberts.

1 Comment

One Response to “Muskingum County Planning Commission begins work on comprehensive plan”

  1. Tom Sullivan on March 17th, 2019 12:48 am

    It would be nice to see the goals set and goals met from the last community plan before proceeding to the next .

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