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Iowa City releases vision for future with comprehensive plan

BY NICK HASSETT | MARCH 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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Though the Iowa City City Council usually discusses issues immediately pertinent to the city, a new plan for the city allows them to look ahead. Way ahead.

The Iowa City Comprehensive Plan, last adopted in 1997, will be updated by the city with “Iowa City 2030.” City officials hope the updated plan will guide Iowa City growth and development for the next 10 to 20 years, and they’re looking for public input.

Iowa City residents can leave their comments up until March 20. The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold two public input sessions, one being this Thursday.

City Councilor Terry Dickens thought the plan was important in guiding the city.

“It’s something we work toward over the next few decades,” he said. “ There are always changes over time, but it’s a good blueprint to follow.”

City Councilor Jim Throgmorton said his priorities had to do with long-term success of the city.

“I think of [my priorities] in terms of long-term prosperity and sustainability, and I think the plan does that,” he said. “But the devil’s in the details.”

The comprehensive plan itself is split into sections, in which the city lays out the goals and policies that will “guide change, development, and growth.”

Growth and land use

“Creating and sustaining healthy neighborhoods” is the focus of this section, with reinvesting in established neighborhoods, creating affordable housing, and parks, trails, and open space being several points that are touched on.

Housing

The plan encourages a diversity of housing options to be available for neighborhoods, while maintaining and improving the safety of all housing, as well as creating more energy-efficient development methods.

Economic development

The city hopes to attract new businesses and encourage the expansion and retention of existing businesses, as well as supporting a “healthy mix” of locally owned and national businesses.

Transportation

Accommodating various methods of travel is the priority in this section of the plan, encouraging use of walking, biking, and public transit and maximizing the safety of the transportation network.

Environment, energy, and resources

The vision for environmental protection and sustainability in Iowa City is outlined, with working to raise awareness and protecting the local environment a focus.

Parks and open space

The plan calls for new and old neighborhoods to have adequate access to parks, with public awareness of parks also highlighted.

Arts and culture

The city aims to increase funding for arts and culture programs, as well as recognizing and supporting the economic potential of the arts in Iowa City.


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