Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring is in the Air!

Sometimes I can't believe how fast time flies. I cannot believe that winter is already gone and spring is here. We had a relatively mild winter with only a couple of major storms. That is fortunate for our city, since it saved on the snow removal budget.

Now that spring is here, we see construction activity returning. The city is making repairs to the 800-900 block of East 4th Street and on the south apron at the airport. We are also working with Iowa Homeland Security and FEMA in the managing of the properties the city purchased through the buyout program. There will be at least a couple of new parks created through this process, so please get out and enjoy them!

We also see a lot of activity downtown. The other day I heard the comment that if you want a store front downtown, you better hurry! We see businesses filling empty storefronts and buildings being rehab. There is continuous traffic downtown on weekdays and on the weekends. A new restaurant is planned and a bakery will be opening soon.

We have also noticed some increased interest in home building and additions. During my first couple of years here, we were seeing 10-12 new houses being built each year. Last year, we only had a couple largely due to the recession. This year we have 3-4 in the planning stages already.

Our town meeting for the comprehensive plan is on May 3 at 7:00 PM at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School Commons. The high school is located on 21st Street. We want the plan to be representative of the community as a whole. In order to accomplished that, we need you to attend this meeting. We will be talking about the future of the city and what you would like to see happen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

City Starts Comprehensive Plan Process--Seeks Name

Do you ever feel you don’t have a say in the future development of Vinton? Would you like to express an idea or opinion when it comes to looking at the future of your city? Well, here is your chance to express those ideas and opinions.

In November 2010, the City of Vinton was awarded a 50 percent matching Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) to complete a comprehensive plan. The city will be undertaking the process beginning in February 2011 and is currently seeking possible names for the process of developing this plan.

So, what is a Comprehensive Plan, also referred to as a “comp plan”? A comp plan is a plan that serves as an overall guide for the future development of Vinton. It covers many different areas, including, but not limited to, economic development, housing, the future layout of streets, and the location of parks and trails.

According to Chapter 414 of the Code of Iowa, the comp plan serves as a guide for the zoning and development of city. Vinton has zoning, but never had completed an actual comp plan. This was legal since case law has determined that a comp plan is not required. However, it is certainly prudent to have such a guide for future growth and development.

The lead committee will be the planning and zoning committee, as required by state law. However, public input will be sought through a survey and at public meetings and hearings. There will be a core planning committee, established by the City Council, consisting of the Planning and Zoning Committee and several other members from other parts of the community, such as developers, industry leaders, and community officials.

The process of putting a comp plan together takes about 12 months to complete. Some of the work has already been completed since we had a visioning program four years ago called Vinnovation. A master trail system plan has been developed and a Great Places application with ideas for a park by the Cedar River Bridge is also in the works. Instead of having several different plans with ideas spread out all over, this plan will serve as a central depository for all these ideas and visions to assist the city leadership when it plans for future development and prepares its annual budget.

If you have an idea for the name for the city’s comp plan, please send me an email at