If some residents have their way, the Manhattan of the future will have more green space, better bicycle access and clean air.
Around 80 residents offered their opinions Wednesday on how the Manhattan area should address planning for future growth over the next two decades.
The meeting was a part of Manhattan Area 2035, an update to the Manhattan Urban Area Comprehensive Plan, last updated in 2003, and the Manhattan Area Transportation Strategy.
Two workshops were held simultaneously at Manhattan Fire Station Headquarters and Green Valley Community Center for residents to review the policies and objectives set in the 2003 comprehensive plan.
Darcie White, a director with Clarion Associates, the project’s lead consultant, said a long-range plan should last 10 to 20-plus years and requires projecting into the future.
“Manhattan is a pretty different place than it was in 2003,” White said. “There’s been a significant amount of growth.”
Sylvia Beeman said she was grateful to the city for allowing residents voice their opinions.
“We all put our minds together and synergized and came up with great ideas,” she said. “We’re from all walks of life.”
Those who attended the fire station workshop said some of the issues important to them included public green space, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly areas, historic preservation and focusing on citywide redevelopment rather than just downtown.
Beeman said she likes the idea of regional planning to protect the land, save money and avoid duplication of services.
“Things like watersheds don’t stop at the perimeter of the city or the county,” she said. “Those things are shared. Our air is shared. We’re all responsible for what waste we put into it.”
Jeff Endacott said he would like projects that benefit the whole community rather than a select few people.
“I think they do a pretty good job, but we’re here to keep our eye on it,” he said.
Sally Bailey said many people had concern about protecting the city’s ecology.
“Being careful with the Earth as things were developed, and not to create more pollution and construction” she said.
Bailey said she also wanted to see Manhattan remain a welcoming city and keeping its identity.
“Keeping the community unique in its own way” is important, she said. “We shouldn’t lose what’s made Manhattan and make it homogenised like every other city.”
White said the goal is to adopt the new comprehensive plan in early 2015.
“This is really the plan that guides where and how the community within that planning area is going to grow,” she said.
Residents also can give feedback online at manhattanarea2035.com through the “Plan Check-Up” tool. This tool will remain open through June 13.
The next community meeting will be July 16-17 to discuss land use.