Portage County's regional transit service will start its five-year transportation development plan next month, and is looking for public comment on where it should go from here.
Eleven meetings will be held around the county, roughly corresponding to school district boundaries. Scheduled sessions will start April 2 at the Atwater Township Hall for Atwater and Randolph township residents, and conclude in mid-June.
Times and other locations will be announced as they are confirmed. Other sessions will be held with other groups that have a stake in PARTA's performance, such as social agencies.
David Kotting, who has been contracted by PARTA to supervise the TPD process, said he expects to hear new ideas from residents from their perspective.
Kotting said the process is geared so each meeting will result in a list of prioritized needs which will go on to PARTA. The transportation development plan is not geared just to service needs, but to include large projects as well.
Frank Hairston, PARTA marketing director, said the question is "What do you and your community want?"
"It's important that people have a say in what PARTA will do in the next five years," Hairston said.
Kotting said the last five-year review resulted in a number of successful efforts for PARTA, from internal administration to services to consumers.
The Kent Central Gateway multimodal facility, due to open this spring, is an example, Kotting said.
PARTA will make service available for the meetings for residents needing rides to the meetings. Residents can call the scheduling office to let PARTA know their needs.
Information gathered at the meetings will be compiled and turned over to PARTA staff for review and evaluation. The PARTA board of directors select what programs and projects go into the plan.
Some ideas may be very doable, but not have funding available. "There may be some things we can do right now," Hairston said.
The plan is used to seek project funds from federal and transportation agencies such as the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.
All meetings will start at 6 p.m. on the following dates in the following locations:
April 2: Atwater Township Hall, 1219 S.R. 183 (for Atwater and Randolph)
April 9: Kent State University, Room 302 KSU Student Center (for KSU students, staff)
April 23: Streetsboro City Hall, council chambers, 9184 S.R. 43
April 30: Garrettsville Village Hall, 8213 High St. (for Freedom, Hiram, Nelson, Windham townships, and Garrettsville, Hiram and Windham villages)
May 7: Mantua Park Lodge, 4810 E. High St., (for Mantua and Shalersville townships and Mantua village)
May 14: Kent Council Chambers, 217 E. Summit St., (for Franklin Township, Brady Lake and Kent)
May 21: Brimfield Township Hall, (for Brimfield and Suffield)
May 28: Palmyra Fire Department meeting room, 3956 S.R. 225, Diamond (for Charlestown, Deerfield, Edinburg, Palmyra and Paris townships)