Thursday’s meeting differed from Monday’s public input meeting as residents provided input in a come-and-go format based on feedback from Monday’s meeting, which featured more than 60 residents.
Kevin Gunther with Ragan-Smith Associates serves as project manager and said the group took ideas from Monday’s visioning session and stakeholder and steering committee meetings and shaped maps by character areas for Thursday’s meeting.
“We’re feeding this back to the public and the steering committee so they can tell us if we’ve translated what we thought we heard from them into the maps,” Gunther said.
Gunther said Randy Gross with Randall Gross Development Economics would conduct economic research and analyze studies to determine what parts of the market have the most potential to grow in the area.
Residents continued to give feedback in several areas of Thursday’s meeting, which Gunther said was important for the process.
“In the end, this truly is a plan that the city and the community and city leaders have developed. We’re trying to communicate and shape it as consultants, but it’s not our plan. It’s the city’s plan,” he said.
Gunther, along with Lebanon Planning Director Paul Corder, said quality of life was a major concern for residents.
“People are really excited about making this a beautiful corridor and making sure the aesthetics are high. There’s a lot of talk about quality and having a sense of gateway – arrival – when you get here in the city,” Gunther said.
“We were kind of surprised. We put up 10 tables, and of those 10 tables, eight put a priority on pedestrian connectivity to greenways and being able to walk and that’s something you can’t really ignore,” Corder said.
Gunther said traffic is also a major concern.
“Another thing we’ve heard a lot of is people want development and opportunities, but they want to make sure traffic is handled correctly. So, we need to make sure we have the collective streets thoughout,” he said.
Sarah Haston, Lebanon Economic Development director, said although the planning department would likely use the results of the study to shape some of their policies, the study is crucial to economic development.
“There’s always talk about the lack of development on Hartmann Drive and what’s the future look like in the area. However, people also don’t want a cluster of things in a small area like other parts of the city. This is a chance to get feedback and form a strategic approach about possible development in the area,” Haston said.
Corder said although the 3,000 acres in the study feature three schools, an airport, shopping center and other characteristics, there’s still enough space for different forms of development.
“There’s still plenty of room to do multitude of different things in this corridor. There’s going to be several characters to this area,” Corder said.
“This meeting could truly make a big difference in shaping that. It’s a truly unique opportunity for the city,” Gunther said.