The first series of meeting for the Strategic Planning committee began on January 11th at the Lockkeeper’s House. Mayor Pape convened the meeting and welcomed everyone. The village retained Poggemeyer Design Group (PDG) to update New Bremen’s 2002 Plan and the appointment of a planning steering committee, representative of the entire community, was the first order of business. The mayor thanked all present for agreeing to serve on the committee.
The committee’s role will be to work with the PDG consultants (Paul Tecpanecatl & Paulette Mills) and to provide feedback throughout the planning process.
Paul referred to a chart describing the planning process broken down into four major steps:
- preparation of an existing conditions assessment of the village, describing current conditions and past trends
- identification of challenges facing the community
- creation of a vision statement for New Bremen and the end goals desired from the planning process
- the formulation of a plan of action to address current challenges and to attain the vision statement and desired goal(s) of the community, 10 to 15 years out into the future.
Paul commended the mayor and his staff for undertaking this planning process. In Ohio, planning is voluntary, unlike other states where planning is mandated. Some states require a master plan update every 10 years. As a rule of thumb, a ten-year timeframe for updating a comprehensive plan and a five year period have been widely accepted by the planning profession. Good plans serve as a useful guide or roadmap for elected officials and administrators to follow. They also help in making wise land use decisions based on a plan that has been well thought-out with public input and support.
The group discussed challenges facing New Bremen. Four topic areas were discussed: the Strengths of the community; the Weaknesses; the Opportunities and the Threats. Each committee member was given the opportunity to voice their opinions and issues. The list of strengths and weaknesses was extensive with at least 20 identifiable topics each.
Some of the strengths include the following:
- community pride- in homes and properties
- industry strength
- a safe community
- parks and the Miami-Erie Canal, and their ADA accessibility
- the good work ethic exemplified in the workforce and in the schools
A few weaknesses identified included the following:
- Need for affordable, entry level housing for both rental and ownership
- Need for senior housing
- School enrollment declining
- Need land for housing development
Residents are encouraged to reach out to the planning committee members in order to share their thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in our community. A list of committee members can be found here.
The next meeting is scheduled for mid-February. An update of that meeting will be available on the village blog by March 1st.
<source: meeting minutes as provided by PDG>