Lawrence city commissioners sounded the starting gun Tuesday for the creation of Horizon 2020, approving a contract with the consulting firm that will guide the community in crafting the long-term, land-use plan.
In a bit of creative problem-solving, commissioners also agreed to ask Chicago-based consultants Trkla, Pettigrew, Allen and Payne to draft an economic development plan for Douglas County as they work on the Horizon 2020 project.
Conceiving a strategy to guide economic development is a top goal of the commission, said City Manager Mike Wildgen, but its creation promised to eat up too much of the commission's time.
However, if the strategy were created within the activities already planned for Horizon 2020, the commissioners could manage both, Wildgen said.
Commissioners were enthused about the economic development project, which will add about $20,000 to the $100,000 cost of Horizon 2020.
"I WAS reluctant to put money into this, but as I see our economic development policy very narrowly concentrating on attracting new businesses and tax abatements, I do think we need a much broader policy," Commissioner John Nalbandian said.
Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith agreed.
"My reluctance was also in the time and the money," she said. "I'd like to thank Mike (Wildgen) for being so attentive to our goals."
Commissioners voted unanimously to expand their contract with TPAP for Horizon 2020 to include developing an economic development strategy, and they authorized Wildgen to sign the contract.
Wildgen said city staff envisions two documents coming out of the process.
TO CREATE the economic development strategy, TPAP consultants would ask residents how they envision the community in the future, said Sheila Stogsdill, city planner.
From visioning exercises and resident input, consultants would cull a set of policies for economic growth. TPAP then would bring the policies back to the community for analysis.
After weighing potential impact of the proposed policies, the community would end up with a set of definite policies that would complement Horizon 2020.
Horizon 2020 will replace Plan '95 and the Douglas County Guide Plan as the official manual for managing growth, development and conservation in Douglas County.
Through resident input and consensus, the plan will address concerns such as housing, transportation, neighborhood quality, historic buildings, and the relationship between the community and Kansas University.
THE EXTRA services will cost $20,000. Commissioners agreed to appropriate $5,000 for the economic plan. The Douglas County Commission will be asked to contribute $5,000 as well.
Kansas University and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce have agreed to chip in $5,000 each, Wildgen said.
The charge for TPAP's services in crafting Horizon 2020 is $100,000. The city and county already have appropriated $66,000 for their fees and plan to set aside another $34,000 in their budgets next year.