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Village Vision News

Goal is set: A comprehensive plan for Village by next spring

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Village leaders looked forward to the arrival of Forsyth’s new Village administrator a year ago, knowing that a new comprehensive plan would be among that person’s top goals.

After settling in to the position, Village Administrator Heather Kimmons is ready to tackle a document to address the Village’s specific needs.

“We have known for two years that we’ve needed a new comprehensive plan … we look forward to having a document that will enhance the Village,” said Mayor Hap Gilbert.

The existing comprehensive plan was implemented in 2002 after nearly two years of preparation with a paid consultant. Kimmons subscribes to a more ambitious approach based on a timeline that would produce results by spring 2012 to coincide with the beginning of the new fiscal year in May.

Presently, she has met with two prospective consultants and has plans to interview one more. She hopes to have a recommendation ready for trustees within four to six weeks, but the plan could change depending on the time needed for the three prospective consultants to submit their proposals to her.

“We’re long past due for this [plan] … we have the money budgeted, but must find the right company to work with,” she said during a recent interview.

Kimmons described the comprehensive plan as a means of “…getting down to the nuts and bolts” to see where the Village has been and where it plans to evolve with residential planning, growth and commercial planning. The comprehensive plan differs from the Village’s strategic plan, which is a philosophical document that centers on ideas and goals for the Village and gives the framework for the Village’s operation.

Kimmons said she is open to the idea of incorporating an economic development plan with the comprehensive plan because the idea has been endorsed by experts in municipal government. It is likely that a temporary consultant will be hired to shape the economic development portion, she said, noting that the mayor has encouraged her to seek additional help by hiring a consultant.

“While I think we are doing a great job handling things, we’re understaffed,” she said.

Her initial hope when she became Village administrator a year ago was to find a grocery store willing to locate in the Village. Her lack of progress in this area has caused her to admit, “I’m not an economic development expert.”

Gilbert said Kimmons’ overall goals for a comprehensive plan that features an enhancement of the Rt. 51 corridor and upscale businesses while controlling Village growth reflect the present and past Board’s goals. This philosophy has been consistent with various Board trustees throughout the years, he said.

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