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Comprehensive Plan ready for approval

Adam Rude discusses the update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan following Thursday evening’s meeting.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Shelbyville’s updated Comprehensive Plan is one step closer to being complete following Thursday evening’s meeting in which the plan was summarized to a group of residents at the Carl McNeely Civic Center.

Adam Rude, Director of Planning and Building, guided the group through the outline of the plan, which looks into what objectives the city should focus on over the next decade and in what areas of the city should be the focus.

Through a series of meetings, interviews and public surveys, the steering committee started to piece together the goals the community would like for the coming years. They looked at the demographics from the past 10 years, the previous comprehensive plan to see what has been accomplished, what is in the works and what hasn’t been done. And they collected as much input as they could over the past year.

“The plan that’s created is truly a representation of the community and the citizens of Shelbyville,” Rude said.

A survey received more than 1,400 responses, 903 of which were from Shelbyville residents. The rest were from commuters who work or shop in Shelbyville, and former Shelbyville residents. They also received more than 7,600 comments.

“This was a surprisingly large number,” he said. “We were very happy with the responses we got.”

Rude went through a few objectives they found.

One objective in the plan is to invest and improve the quality of life in terms of education and opportunities. Some respondents said the city has already started this through partnerships with the Excel Center and Advantage Shelby County, as well as the decision by Shelbyville Central Schools to open a preschool in the former Marsh building.

“A lot of people wanted to see this taken a step further and offer our children and even our adults even more educational opportunities, all of these tying back to our quality of life,” Rude said.

Another was to strengthen the community’s health. A community cannot grow if its residents are not healthy, he said.

That means continuing to invest in the Parks and Recreation Department and community gardens, where people can get affordable produce.

The gateways into Shelbyville also were a common topic when Rude and the committee received feedback.

He said the construction on State Road 44 into Franklin was a good example of creating a good first impression.

“Our gateways serve as the first face that people see when they enter Shelbyville,” he said. “We heard from a lot of residents that it’s not the best face we could be putting out. So investing in those gateways, making them more aesthetically appealing, similar to the work that Franklin has done.”

And the area around the Indiana Grand Casino has potential to continue growing.

That area has the potential to be what he called a “commerce connector” between Interstates 65 and 74, assuming Johnson County officials make similar improvements. Rude said they expect more changes in the future around the casino now that it was bought by Caesars Entertainment.

The new Comprehensive Plan can be found at www.cityofshelbyvillein.com/compplanupdate/. Online comments can still be sent but time is running short. The deadline to submit a comment is Monday.

The Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on the plan during its Jan. 28 public hearing and, if approved, the City Council will then have a public hearing in mid-February to adopt it.