What is a citywide vision plan?
It is a broad blueprint for a community’s future. It says where we as a community want to go and how we plan to get there. It is based on input from anyone in the community that cares about the future of the place they live, work, play or study. To complement these aspirations, the plan is grounded in an understanding of current conditions and trends. The vision plan should consider all aspects of community life and identify goals and specific actions for the community to implement.
Why does Valparaiso need a vision plan?
In general, planning represents good stewardship. Valparaiso has a well-deserved reputation as a vibrant and prosperous community. The Valparaiso we enjoy today is the result of deliberate planning and commitment to following through on those plans. Change is always happening and we must periodically pause to assess our current situation and look to the future to ensure that we continue to address the needs of today and the challenges of tomorrow. Most significantly, though, the vision plan provides an opportunity to be creative and bold.
How is the vision plan different from the city’s strategic plan and comprehensive plan?
The city’s strategic plan, updated in 2009, focusses on specific actions city leadership should take to address community priorities in the short-term (1-5 years). Most of the recommendations from that plan have been implemented or are underway. The comprehensive plan is a long-term policy guide focussed on physical aspects of the city, including land use, growth patterns, transportation, environment, and infrastructure. An update to the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in May 2013. It serves as the foundation of the city’s zoning code, annexation policy, capital improvements plan, and many other specific plans and policies. While community input was included in these plans, more extensive engagement is anticipated for the vision plan.
The vision plan will be:
- A targeted long-term plan that sets the direction for Valparaiso considering all aspects of community life. All of the city’s other plans should be aligned with the vision plan.
- Driven by the Valparaiso community’s insight and aspirations. Community engagement is a major aspect of the vision plan process.
Why should I care?
As a citizen, business owner, or property owner in Valparaiso, you have made an important choice to be in the city. If you like the community just the way it is, you should care because change is always happening. If you want aspects of the community improved, you should also care enough to help identify what needs to be addressed.
Who will lead the vision plan?
The City has appointed a diverse 40-member citizen steering committee to guide the process. The committee will work directly with City staff and consultants, planning NEXT, who were selected to facilitate the vision plan. Planning NEXT is a nationally recognized firm based in Columbus, Ohio that has helped many similar cities develop and implement community-driven visions and strategic plans. They have a strong reputation in Indiana, having facilitated successful plans in Muncie, Fort Wayne and Allen County.
How long will the planning process last?
The planning process will last approximately 12 months, with completion expected in late summer of 2014.
Is there a role for the public to be involved?
Yes! The City is committed to conducting an open and inclusive process. There will be multiple opportunities for face-to-face public workshops and online activities over the next year.