By Kate Thurston, Reporter/Photographer for Rushville Republican.
Tuesday night before city council, there was a public hearing on the comprehensive plan for Rush County.
The plan was completed and adopted at the meeting.
Cory Daly with HWC Engineering along with Scott Burgins of SDG spoke to the council and those who attended.
“Over the last 12 months or so, we have went over the plan. This has really been a publicly fed process. When you look at how this was structured, it was led by a steering committee. This community held the entire process together and hung together throughout all the meetings. Beyond the steering committee, the most important thing to think about is how it was a publicly driven process. This plan is a guide for the city with short and long term goals. There are two basic fundamental questions that were asked,” Daly said. “‘What do you want to change and what do you want to protect?’ The comprehensive plan is a guiding document, but that does not mean you have to do what it says. This plan reflects the public’s opinion and what they want to see happening down the road. It is important to remember this was a community driven process. There were a series of public meetings and we tried to include as many people as possible during the process.”
The plan conducted a survey between March and April to get feedback from the community. Information was collected through a public survey, steering committee workshops, focus group workshops, individual stakeholder interviews, public meetings, community website and press releases.
“The public survey was a main catalyst for some of the big decisions that were made. Rushville can pat themselves on the back because there were over 1,000 responses for the survey. This showed many people were interested and wanted to see this happen. This helped give people some say and speak their opinion. We found that overall agriculture is a large identifier of the community and community growth was essentially important along with improving existing neighborhoods. We also heard quite a bit about downtown and what it could be along with the small businesses. Long story short, we found people really love Rushville. People also thought that there needed to be better opportunities in Rushville.”
Mayor Mike Pavey commented, stating the plan was a great way to start making improvements.
“We can take a lot from the plan,” Pavey stated. “There are many items we can work on, starting with short term. The plan helps because we can work at our own pace and it does act as a road map to reach our goals. We would like to start on some of our short term goals right away.”