Prattville – Democracy has its roots in Ancient Greece, and Monday night it was in full force at the Doster Center in Prattville.
Around 100 people participated in Project Prattville, a truly democratic, citizen-driven approach to planning the future of the city.
Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. opened the meeting with a brief statement about the process.
“This is the final meeting on our Project Prattville before we start the implementation process,” said Byard.
“Progress is like a rolling barrel… and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one walking on that rolling barrel, but a city like ours takes the city administration, civic leadership, and just everyday citizens all walking on that barrel. We’re all on the rolling barrel as we progress down the road.”
Project Prattville: The Next Chapter is an ongoing 12-month long course of action initiated by the City of Prattville and designed to completely overhaul the City’s comprehensive plan. Monday night’s meeting was the last of the four scheduled.
Dennis Madsen, Project Leader of Urban Collage, a firm out of Atlanta, Georgia, specializes in doing comprehensive urban planning.
Madsen spoke to the audience for about an hour. He detailed the planning and implementation process and spoke about the results of the project that had its beginnings late last year.
“A comprehensive plan is kind of like a large policy document that helps a community map out its future, whether it’s small, large, in-between size,” Madsen explained. “Basically it’s something that helps guide you through the steps to share your vision as to what the city would look like.”
“We started this project last September and we anticipated finishing, I guess, in October of this year,“ he stated. “The whole idea of this process is to identify a bunch of projects for going forward and so it’s just the beginning for a longer growth period for Prattville, actually for about the next 10-20 years.”
Byard described the power citizens have to influence project results and forge the future of the Fountain City.
“They have a large impact because this is citizen driven. That doesn’t mean that this is everything that a citizen wants. But, there are groups… there’s a library group wanting library improvements, there’s a sportsplex group wanting more sports areas, there’s a downtown group wanting downtown improvements, etc. Sometimes they come together with different ideas and different opinions and they share what they think and what they like and that’s the whole point of gathering here,” said Byard.
City of Prattville Planner, Joel Duke, talked about the process of implementing Project Prattville’s findings.
“For it to become policy, it has to be viewed and adopted by the City Planning Commission,” said Duke. “Most of the Planning Commission members have attended these meetings, so they have been a part of it all along.”
“The project plan has to be officially adopted by the Commission and I believe the City Council will also have to adopt it. So, before we get to that point, we want to get these final comments in and if something comes out of these comments where we feel like we need to have another public meeting, we will, just to talk about it. But, this is the last of the scheduled workshops.”
For more information about Project Prattville visit www.projectprattville.com.
Article by Marc Parker
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