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Public discuss economic goals for city

POSTED AT 11:51 PM ON Sep. 12, 2013  (UPDATED AT 12:54 AM ON Sep. 13, 2013)

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Members of the public are helping map a future for Bloomington.

Local residents met Thursday at the Monroe County Public Library to discuss draft goals for an update of Bloomington’s Growth Policy Plan.

ImagineBloomington began in 2011 as Bloomington’s effort to update the Growth Policies Plan, which was developed in 2002.

ImagineBloomington  organized three workshops this year to give the public opportunities to review and discuss the draft plan.

Scott Robinson, long range and transportation manager for Bloomington, spoke about three draft goals concerning transportation, economic and sustainable development and government services.

The draft goals for transportation include a better transit system, safety and information regarding automobile alternatives.

The economic and sustainable development goals include targeting an area for corporate headquarters, workforce development on emergent technologies and modern manufacturing jobs and economic development as synonymous with quality of life, according to a Powerpoint presentation.

The government services goals are to provide useful public services, promote healthy lifestyles and improve public safety. 

Those who attended the meeting had the opportunity to vote on which ImagineBloomigton goals they favored or opposed.

Nate Nickel, senior long range planner for the planning department, said they created a steering committee of 25 members to oversee this process.

“What we will do is essentially go back to the steering committee and look at the public input we received at this workshop and online, all the comments we received and start looking at editing and working toward actually starting to develop our comprehensive plan,” Nickel said.

ImagineBloomington is anticipated to continue through 2015.

“Generally cities and counties across the country try to update their comprehensive plans about every ten years to reflect current conditions,” Nickel said.

Robinson said they are in the process of deciding where Bloomington wants to be in the next 25 years and beyond.

“We are looking into the future, what direction does Bloomington want to head,” Robinson said.

However, some members of the public said they were upset by the goals that were drafted because they said they felt the broad topics of transportation, economic and sustainable development and government services limited the conversation that could take place.

Micol Seigel, American studies professor at IU,said she felt the whole paradigm that they set up for the public to consider was very conventional and narrow.

“I think that the public objected to the framing of the questions because it limited the kinds of issues we were allowed to address,” Seigel said.

Follow business reporter Alli Friedman on Twitter @afreedz.

 

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