Interested in Belleville's future? Check out this workshop

News-DemocratNovember 16, 2013 

— A community workshop is planned for Tuesday night in Belleville so the city can keep gathering input on the city's "road map" for the next 20 years.

Want to go?

The comprehensive plan meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Programs and Services for Older Persons building at 201 N. Church St.

Attendees will get a brief presentation about the planning process before participating in a visual preferences survey and a small group map exercise.

During the survey portion, attendees will look at images of design elements -- for example, large versus small lot sizes -- and say which they prefer.

Anyone unable to attend the workshop can participate by sharing ideas on the comprehensive plan website, www.imaginebelleville.com.

Emily Fultz, the city's director of economic development, planning and zoning, said new questions are added to the website weekly.

The website has 117 active participants and the average age of contributors is 47, Fultz said. Participants can post ideas, comment on other ideas and rate ideas.

Ideas so far

*For Belleville to be a "complete" city, what are the missing pieces?

One resident said to create a park with a "waterfall" fountain at the end of West Main Street near the Hilltop neighborhood so visitors can shop, dine, picnic and paint.

*If Belleville grows by 8,000 to 12,000 residents over the next 20 years, where should that growth be accommodated?

This feature shows a map divided into 13 zones and asks users to pick which zone the growth should occur.

The city wants to know if new developments should be on the edges of the city, within existing neighborhoods or in vacant lots.

The map also shows the fastest growing subdivisions in Belleville in the past 10 years, such as areas south of downtown.

*What projects, programs or initiatives in nearby cities should serve as role models or best practices for Belleville?

One person responded and described the Cherokee Street community in St. Louis, a growing arts district redeveloped from a grassroots level. The promotion of diversity and healthy living in the area adds to that community's sustainability.

*What specific locations need improvements for better traffic flow or safety for people driving, walking or biking?

Ideas posted so far include widening South Green Mount Road, building a sidewalk along State Street Road for Roosevelt and Belleville West High School students, and marking bike lanes on major roads.

Background

The city started to work on a new comprehensive plan this past summer after hiring Kendig Keast Collaborative.

The group has held a series of public meetings with city officials, residents and other community members to identify the city's goals for growth in the next 20 years.

The firm will provide a draft of the "Envision Belleville 2035" plan for council review by April. The next public session for community input will be held around the same time.

For more information about the comprehensive plan, contact Fultz at 233-6518, ext. 1250 or efultz@belleville.net.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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