We hope Ravenna City
Council gives serious consideration to going forward with a comprehensive plan to guide future growth of the city.
With a comprehensive plan on the books, the city can set guidelines for planned growth, enabling it to control future development. Setting priorities for development, coupled with appropriate zoning,will enable the city to encourage the best use of available sites. That, in turn, will be helpful in boosting Ravenna's tax base, strengthening the community.
The Bica administration, to its credit, has focused on the future, identifying potential areas for development. The Cleveland Road corridor has been eyed for industrial growth; other long-range plans also are in the works. That's a commendable sense of foresight.
Undertaking a comprehensive plan would involve input not only from city officials but from Ravenna residents and other stakeholders with an investment in the city and an interest in seeing it thrive. Setting priorities for future growth and drafting a document to encourage development in line with them are key elements of a successful comprehensive plan. The alternative is helter-skelter growth.
Ravenna, as we have noted many times, has many "positives" that make it an attractive site for future development: It is the seat of county government and the home of Robinson Memorial Hospital. Its downtown area is distinctive and charming. It boasts a solid school system, with a new high school. It has an excellent library. There are many fine neighborhoods that welcome families. It is located within easy access of major highways.
Many of those elements, as Councilman Frank Seman noted recently, are the result of long-range planning. The site of the new Ravenna High School was purchased more than a generation before the school was built. Robinson Memorial is constantly planning for growth. Reed Memorial Library's new addition was the result of careful planning. Streetscape, which was undertaken in the 1990s, involved a specific vision for the future of Ravenna.
Todd Peetz, director of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission, has approached City Council about joining forces on a comprehensive plan. He will prepare a cost analysis for future consideration.
Many neighboring communities, including Aurora, Streetsboro and Kent, have comprehensive plans that have enabled them to control development and manage growth. With a comprehensive plan, Ravenna would gain another tool that could encourage development.