Englewood Patch: Englewood Community Members Contribute to ‘Master Plan’

24 October 2012 91 views No Comment

From Englewood-Englewood Cliffs Patch:

Dozens of community members and other stakeholders turned up at Congregation Ahavath Torah Monday evening for the second public hearing on the City of Englewood Master Plan, which officials hope to adopt by early 2013.

“I consider it historic to have a true community-driven master plan by all the forces of Englewood,” said Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle. “This our second of two, and there will be more.”

Noting that in his State of the City address last Tuesday, he enumerated “why [Englewood is] different and why we could weather any storm and be better,” Huttle said, “Our city is truly unique, and we just have to plan for it.”

The mayor called Monday’s public hearing a “city-wide focus group,” and after presentations by representatives of the three planning and consulting groups Englewood has engaged to develop the plan— Brown & Keener Urban Design, Regional Plan Association (RPA) and Urban Planners—people in attendance took part in break-out work sessions, the purpose of which was to provide feedback the city, the Planning Board and the three organizations can use in developing a final plan.

The focus Monday was in four areas: light rail extension, downtown business, neighborhoods and community amenities and Englewood as an emerging job center.

“We are soliciting participation,” Huttle said. “That’s why you’re about to go to work, and that’s how we are going to plan our city, because how we plan the city’s future—first to identify what you like or believe our city is and where you want to take it.”

Lewis J. Baer of the Englewood Planning Board said the idea of the master plan is to attract people and businesses to Englewood and to make the city a “destination within our county.”

Baer said officials, in partnership with the three planners, would take the information gathered at Monday’s breakout sessions, “refine it and make it something that will be in all of our best interests.”

“We want to make Englewood better than it is now, and the process that we’re about to embark upon really recognizes the input from the community,” Baer said. “It really can’t work any other way.”

He added that creating a master plan requires compromises, but also “forward thinking” and “a lot of what ifs.”

“But that’s the whole point of this process,” Baer said.

The first public hearing was held on June 27 at the Community Baptist Church.

A record of that meeting is available here, documentation and FAQs about the master plan can be found here and you can take a survey by clicking here.

The new master plan, which officials hope to adopt in early 2013, is being updated just three years after Englewood’s 2009 master plan, officials say, because of the need for “neighborhood preservation,” new census data, greater public engagement, the “public’s desire” for a community center, the possibility of three light rail stations in the city and redevelopment like the Lincoln and Liberty schools and the MacKay Park Ice Arena.

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