Residents share ideas on city plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Education, industry, workforce training and growing the areas healthcare facilities were some of the reoccurring suggestions brought out by the community workshop held yesterday to provide input for the comprehensive plan in the works for the city.

Held at Rooster Hall, residents of Demopolis were encouraged to attend the first of a series of venues for public participation in the plan, which will layout the wants of the community during its development in the next 25 years. Those in attendance were asked not just to attend the meeting, but also to provide their opinions into how they would like to see the community in the future.

Williamson stressed to those in attendance that the plan would be utilized, not put on a shelf and ignored, as the city moved towards the goals laid out by the comprehensive plan. Consultant and veteran city planner, Larry Watts said the workshop was a key in the planning process.

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Those in attendance at the meeting were asked first to assess both the assets and challenge the community faces by Watts. The responses were written on note cards and taken up for later use in the planning process.

Residents at the meeting were then broken up into six groups were they would be presented with an idea gathering question. Then under the direction of a group facilitator the ideas would be rated by the whole group.

Group members wrote their answers in the amount of time allocated by their facilitators and then presented their top answers to their group. Individuals in the groups were then asked to rank the ideas spawned by the gathering question and the top four rated answers were taken out of the group and presented to all in attendance.

An east, west thoroughfare through the area, incentives for industry and downtown revitalization were some of the responses, which have been suggested by and to city leaders prior, given by groups. Other more unique answers from the groups were the attraction of a commercial airline to the area, natural beauty planning and building the area as a retirement destination.

Watts said he was pleased with the first workshop and told those in attendance they were the ones that would make Demopolis what it would become. He said the next community meeting would be organized toward the end of May and would focus on group goal writing.