Since Clark County, Ohio’s last county-wide comprehensive plan was created almost 20 years ago, much has changed. A decline in population and loss of jobs in key sectors of the economy have posed real challenges. At the same time, the community boasts a number of assets that present opportunities for the future, including the county’s strategic location between Columbus and Dayton, a renewed interest in the revitalization of downtown Springfield, a rich agricultural legacy, and scenic and recreational amenities such as an excellent multi-use trail system.
Now Clark County is undertaking a new comprehensive plan. Known as CONNECT Clark County, the process is bringing together residents from the cities, towns, townships and county to talk about their ideas, hopes, and aspirations for the next twenty years…and beyond.
The effort is being led by the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee in collaboration with Clark County, the City of Springfield and a steering committee. Planning NEXT has been engaged to facilitate the planning process with support from Burgess & Niple and Randall Gross Development Economics.
The process kicked off with a series of four public “Focus on the Future” workshops, which were supplemented with meetings with key stakeholder groups. All participants were asked to complete the phrase “Clark County will be better in the future if…” and discussed their ideas with others. Workshop participants also worked together to map crucial “opportunity places” which they would like to see the new comprehensive plan address.
From this input, the consultant team identified common themes important to participants and key opportunity areas on which to focus, and has started to develop recommendations for the plan.
Citizens will have another opportunity to provide their feedback in September, when another series of interactive public meetings will consider potential recommendations for the plan. The comprehensive plan is expected to be drafted in fall 2017 and completed by the end of the year.