On February 5, 2018, The City of Decatur, Alabama adopted the One Decatur Comprehensive Plan. It was the final step in an 18-month planning process to create a new city-wide plan based on community aspirations. This was the first plan that City Council formally adopted. Past plans were approved by Planning Commission only. The Council vote was unanimous.
Unprecedented engagement. The process engaged over 800 community members in large and small format workshops, focus groups, and online. Nearly all the original 40- member citizen steering committee that was assembled through an open application process stayed involved through the duration of the 18-month effort. They were key to the effort’s community engagement and helped draft many of the plan’s recommendations
Comprehensive, yet strategic. While covering a full range of “comprehensive plan” topics, Decatur’s plan is organized strategically into five initiative areas: Creating a Quality Place, Advancing our Prosperity, Improving our Mobility, Enhancing our Amenities, and Strengthening our Community. The plan’s 140 action items include a mix of easily achievable steps to move the City forward as well as more ambitious efforts.
With the help of a team that included Randall Gross / Development Economics, Kimley-Horn, Goodwyn Mills and Cawood, Skipper Consulting, and Hoar Program Management, the plan features a character-based future land use concept, a mobility strategy that emphasizes context-based street design, and an economic competitiveness and target industry strategy. Based on early community and stakeholder input, a housing market analysis was undertaken for the plan to identify opportunities and strategies to encourage more quality rental and for-sale housing.
Sustaining positive momentum. The One Decatur Comprehensive Plan has begun a new era of cooperation and coordination among local governmental and quasi-governmental entities—at both the city and the county level. The process has already helped to provide momentum for various initiatives including strengthening the city’s schools, vocational education and continuing to expand the bikeway network. The City will also benefit from a new landmark automotive facility announced last month to be developed in neighboring Huntsville in Limestone County. The focus to implementation building upon momentum to create a community in which future generations can be enthused to “home.”