What will Creston be like in 2040?
That’s the question at the heart of Southern Iowa Council of Governments’ (SICOG) idea to build a comprehensive plan for the city of Creston, using input from community members.
SICOG hosted a community planning workshop at the restored Creston Depot Monday evening to gather initial thoughts and input to put toward the plan.
“The comprehensive plan for Creston is looking over the next 20 years to what the community as a whole wants this city to look like,” SICOG planner Marcus Amman said. “This is going to take awhile for us to do over the course of the next year. We’ll have more meetings like this. We truly do want your input. It will help us guide this document to make it exactly what you want.”
The comprehensive plan will look at all facets of city planning and then focus each element as accurately as possible for the community as a way to improve the city.
Eventually, once the comprehensive plan is completed, it will be given a final review by Creston City Council and then will be adopted by the council.
According to SICOG planner Jeremy Rounds, the comprehensive plan is a legal document that will become part of the city’s documents.
“While it’s not necessarily an ordinance, it has some of the same legal teeth in it an ordinance does,” Rounds said.
Amman said the comprehensive plan is not specific to the point of saying a certain road needs to be done at a certain time, but rather prioritizes needs of the city over the lifespan of the plan.
“There will be some shorter-term, specific goals to get the ball rolling in the first five years, and then it will be really broad after that,” Amman said. “It is a living document. As things happen and as things change, it can be revised per the needs of the city.”
Monday’s workshop sparked discussion between community members during a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis activity.
SICOG planner Joel Lamb asked for community members present to list what they felt were strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the city of Creston.
One of the major discussions was the condition of the uptown area and how to revitalize it.
“There has to be an incentive to build downtown,” said one community member in attendance. “If you have a terrible, old structure, it needs to be torn down, make a parking lot out of it or green space for awhile. If somebody comes along and wants to build a new building there, they need to get a deal so it behooves them to come downtown to build. The city, if they tear the building down and they own the property, if somebody wants to build a new building, give the land to them. They’ll get their taxes in due time. But, the incentive for an investor, for somebody to build downtown is not there. That is big.”
Amman said SICOG has a survey on its Facebook page and on its website (www.sicog.com) for community members to complete, which will help guide the document. Paper copies of the survey are also available.
“We’re shooting for 500 people to fill out this survey,” Amman said. “It will take 10-15 minutes of your time, 30 questions, and we will take all that information and use that to help guide some of the planning documents. We truly want your guys’ input in everything that’s going on with this plan.”
For questions about the comprehensive plan, or to receive a paper copy of the survey, contact SICOG at 641-782-8491.