Ravenna City Council and the city government might be pleasantly surprised what an $18,000 updated master plan could do for them if they would invest in one.
Proposed by Todd Peetz of Portage County Regional Planning, the plan would create "bottom up" consensus in establishing some goals for the community, and the citizen buy-in would help members of City Council and the administration move forward.
An updated master plan, we predict, would not be shelved, as some fear, but would be used to give Ravenna a more level playing field in seeking grants to help the community accomplish its goals. We are not sure what some members of council are referring to when they say that the city has other master plans that are collecting dust, but if they do exist and were not used, that is certainly not the fault of the current leadership on council or in the administration.
Master plans are made, do get used, and frequently need updating. Streetsboro, for example, is completing a master plan which has been under way for a period. It will update the city's plan and support its efforts to move ahead, something the Broska administration is pursuing aggressively. Kent has not updated its master plan in awhile, but it has one and its council has generally been supportive of such initiatives and these have paid off in seeking grants. Aurora and Stow have master plans and have periodically updated them, knowing full well that without updated plans, their chances of marshalling their citizens, pursuing grants and gaining focus will have been compromised.
Ravenna, under the Bica administration, has done a good job of getting more involved with the area. City Engineer Bob Finney has been attending AMATS meetings with proposals and ideas and the city will be getting funding it previously denied itself by not participating in the transportation agency. The city is also sharing equipment with other communities saving thousands of dollars in the process. In short, some progress is occurring.
An investment in an updated master plan goes hand-in-hand with these efforts. It would enable Ravenna to present itself as a community that has agreed upon goals supported by its citizens.
Although $18,000 is not small change, all it takes it the awarding of a single grant from an outside party and the return on the investment becomes substantial. If investing in a master plan is a gamble, it is a small one that is surely worth the risk.
It's time to open the windows and let in some fresh air, the kind that "bottom up" opinion solicitation and goal-setting can bring. Most people want the best for the community. Why not let their aspirations be voiced in an updated Ravenna master plan that can help the community progress?