Ravenna City Council is considering a comprehensive planning process for the city.
Todd Peetz, director of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission, made a presentation to council's Community and Economic Development Committee recently. Peetz said in his position, he's done comprehensive plans for most of the townships in Portage County, and before that, did similar plans in Florida.
He said the process had just started when he arrived in Florida, and he found himself thinking that many of them would never happen.
"Twenty years later, many of those plans, even the ones I thought were a little out there, were starting to happen," he said. "The city needs to dream big."
He suggested that one way to gather public input is by doing a survey of people who attend the Balloon A-Fair in Ravenna, since many people come to that event. Instead of excluding "outsiders," he suggested that non-residents be given a separate survey.
The hidden costs of not planning, he said, are letting development happen rather than the city controlling it, or an eroding tax base and job loss.
"I know you're trying to avoid that at all costs," he said.
Peetz reminded council that as a member of the Regional Planning Commission, the city has 200 technical assistance hours a year. Similar hours were used when Peetz did asset mapping for the city.
Councilman Frank Seman pointed out that the city has several examples of planning that has taken place in the past, such as the new library, the Streetscape project downtown, and the new Ravenna High School, for which the land was purchased decades in advance.
"Sometimes it takes a long time for these things to happen," he said.
Peetz agreed to prepare a cost analysis and present it at a future meeting.
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