Denton seeks input

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Planners to unveil a new, draft vision statement at forums

City planners are reaching out to residents again, this time to unveil a new, draft vision statement for Denton’s future and how the city might grow.

Two forums are planned in the coming weeks, one in the evening on Thursday, Oct. 17, and one on the weekend, on Saturday, Nov. 9, in order to give residents a chance to participate in a community-wide conversation that imagines and plans for the city between now and 2030.

Some residents have seen earlier drafts of the vision statement as planners shared it with various committees, according to city spokeswoman Kiersten Dieterle.

“It’s already been revised several times,” Dieterle said.

But the next two forums give the entire community a chance to participate, she said.

Last year, city leaders agreed to update the comprehensive plan drafted in 1999. The city has grown considerably since then, and the updated plan will need to consider the likely influx of 100,000 more residents over the next 20 years.

The city retained a team of consultants, costing about $628,000, to help with the updates.

Citywide sessions to brainstorm for the revisions began last year. Consultants conducted a random sample survey on the phone this spring with themes that came out of those sessions. The survey was expected to give some statistical validity to the community sessions. Because they didn’t have as much early participation as they hoped, the city staff reached out to community groups and scheduled additional meetings on both university campuses to bolster their work.

The current phase synthesizes into a vision statement what Denton residents have identified as the city’s strengths and opportunities. That vision statement, in turn, lays the foundation for future growth strategies.

During the various meetings over the past year, residents have identified the universities, the airport and A-train, downtown, the local business and creative culture, the sense of community and its diverse neighborhoods, and historic character and natural beauty as part of the city’s strengths. Traffic safety, congestion and parking problems are seen as weaknesses, along with the threats to the city’s natural beauty by the lack of tree preservation, gas wells and unattractive streetscapes and gateways into neighborhoods.

Residents also saw challenges in keeping pace with the growth, but even as the city grows, residents are concerned about “brain drain” and keeping people in Denton, planners found.

Additional community forums are planned for early 2014. City planners say they encourage residents to become involved in the interim with the Denton Plan Ambassador program.

More information can be found on the city’s website, www.DentonPlan2030.com.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

IF YOU GO

Residents are invited to participate in one of two forums planned for the city’s new vision statement.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17

Where: Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.

When: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9

Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 1300 Wilson St.

 

1999 VISION STATEMENT

Denton is a unique community whose diversity gives it strength. This uniqueness is a point of community pride, and it is the goal of The Denton Plan to insure that growth, development and the use of community resources foster, encourage and promote the preservation of this vital quality. Although Denton is no longer a small town, there are certain qualities of small town life that our citizens hold dear.

The proper stewardship of community assets, while managing the pressures of growth, is a balancing act that will require foresight, long-range planning and a great amount of community involvement. The Denton Plan should represent the best of our collective community aspirations and, while preparing Denton for the 21st Century, should never lose sight of the fundamental qualities on which this town was built.

SOURCE: City of Denton


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