Public weighs in on master plan

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Citizens offer community growth input Democrat Photo Cassville citizens had the opportunity to participate in a Master Plan for Growth workshop Monday night hosted by the City of Cassville and BWR, the planning consultants hired by the city to create Cassville's new master plan. In the photo above, John Sullivan, Corky Stehlik, Keith Parker, Mark Smith and Rhonda Stafford discussed potential for commercial and residential growth.

A good-sized crowd of Cassville area citizens turned out for the public input portion of the City of Cassville's master planning process, which was held on Monday and Tuesday nights in the Cassville Intermediate School cafeteria.

Workshop participants were divided into nine different groups on Monday night and asked to provide input on a variety of topics, including: residential and commercial growth; transportation infrastructure, such as sidewalks, streets, recreational trails and bike paths and traffic intersections; downtown redevelopment and signage; and gateway and streetscape improvements.

Large detailed maps of the city and surrounding area were provided, and group members used stickers and markers to plot out where they saw the greatest potential for commercial and residential growth. Participants also had the opportunity to specify where they would like to see new parks, sidewalks and bicycle routes constructed.

"We want you to think near term and also long term," explained Scott Michie before the start of the workshop. Michie is serving as project manager for Bucher, Willis and Ratliff (BWR), the planning consultants hired to complete Cassville's master plan.

"We want to know what you see as Cassville's future and determine how we can create a better city for growth and prosperity," said Michie. "The community opinion survey showed us that people are proud of Cassville and people expect and want Cassville to invest in its future."

The workshop, which lasted two and a half hours, was fast paced and interactive and gave each participant the opportunity to voice their opinions about Cassville's future growth and development.

At the end of the individual table sessions, group leaders had the opportunity to summarize and report on different aspects of the master plan.

Some of the key points expressed at the end of the workshop by the various groups are highlighted below:

* Commercial growth should come first followed by residential growth.

* The city can attract developers by having the water and sewer capabilities in place to serve new residential and commercial areas.

* The city should keep residential and commercial development separate from one another.

* Highway 37, the Hilltop area, Cassville West and Business 37 north were identified as prime areas for commercial development.

* Sidewalks need to be improved and widened in the downtown area and along Main Street north to the school and south to the hospital.

* Bike paths are needed on all major highways in the city.

* The Greenway Trail needs to be resurfaced and extended to the high school.

* The sidewalks and crosswalks around the downtown square needed to be rebuilt and widened.

* Decorative and historic street lighting needs to be added in the downtown area and along Main Street to enhance its historic and aesthetic appeal.

* Wayfinding signage is needed along with "Welcome to Cassville" signs at the city's gateways.

* Crosswalks need to be improved and made ADA compliant.

The evening concluded with a brainstorming session on how to market the identity and spirit of Cassville and showcase the city's essence, values and benefits.

Some of the adjectives used to describe Cassville were "serene, peaceful, a recreational and retirement mecca, realistic core values, community support and economic diversity."

A second public session to review the results from Monday night's master planning workshop was held Tuesday night.

Both the workshop and the review session were hosted by Cassville Mayor Tracy Holle, the Cassville City Council, Economic Development Directors Eugene and Lynette Dilbeck and BWR.

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