Tuesday, May 9

Planning commission sets county on path to growth          Send a link to a friend

[MAY 9, 2006]  Four new members of the newly seated Logan County Regional Planning Commission took part in the May meeting. Jean Ann Hutchinson of Lincoln, Jim Lindgren and Dean Sasse, both of Atlanta, and Steve Anderson of Elkhart joined seasoned members in the second session of the newly reorganized group. The reorganization was done to afford more representation and thereby broader perspective from the communities involved. It also reduces redundant influence of county board members on it.

The commission made several major changes under its chairman, Bill Glaze (Mount Pulaski mayor). It has refocused its efforts to direct the quality and quantity of growth in the county. The major component in doing this was to redevelop the long-outdated comprehensive plan.

The status of the comprehensive plan and the county GIS were the major subjects of the evening. Both projects represent the top manner is which communities attract economic growth in this day and age.

Glaze and the vice chairman, Bill Martin (Atlanta mayor), actively pursued support and then directed the revision of the comprehensive plan. McLean County Regional Planning Commission has led the structural work. Local people sat on committees evaluating and overseeing significant special interest portions. A greenways plan has also been added.

A preliminary plan was completed last month. Martin said that they have since found some more recent statistical data to work into it, and when that is done the draft will be evaluated with an emphasis on land use and taken to communities for their input. After that the final draft will be created and then put to the public for approval.

Martin complimented the intense effort that the special interest committees put forth.

County engineer Bret Aukamp provided an update on the GIS. The project is now in the hands of engineers from Bruce Harris & Associates. They are adding parcel lines to the new county map. They will begin with farmland parcels, starting with Prairie Creek, in order for the county to meet the new Bulletin 810 farmland assessment deadline of Dec. 31. Then they will parcel map the remainder of the county properties. This process will take 12-18 months.

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In the meantime, Aukamp said they would be looking for how offices can best communicate with one another the information that goes into the GIS system.

A $100,000 Illinois Department of Transportation grant got the project off the ground a couple of years ago, and a slow-growing fund from county recording fees was set up to help with the expense. Opportunities to continue its financing are still being developed.

The total cost for the parcel mapping contract is $336,000. This will be paid in installments over five years.

County coordinator Dewey Colter presented a number of options that the system presents, some of which might help pay for its development and might have grant funding. Communities and a wide diversity of agencies, such as the health department and emergency management, could benefit by layering their information into the county GIS.

Another aspect to consider at this time is who will maintain the system. A person could be hired to do that job, but there are other choices too, Aukamp said.

The GIS is still in the early stages.

[Jan Youngquist]


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