The city of Ames is asking for public input regarding the new Comprehensive Plan, which lays out infrastructure goals for Ames into the year 2040. They’re hosting two open houses in the Ames Public Library on Tuesday, the first from 3 to 5 p.m. and the second from 6 to 8 p.m.
This is the first opportunity for public input into the Comprehensive Plan. The city had to pursue a new plan in 2018 because the current Land Use Policy Plan didn’t foresee such large changes in Ames’ population and urban development.
The Ames population has increased by more than 16,000 people since 2010, and developments like the Furman Aquatic Center and more than 2,200 new single-family homes weren’t compatible with the goals of the Land Use Policy Plan.
“Planning for the future is always challenging, but having a common vision for the community helps local leadership make decisions when opportunities are presented,” said Planning and Housing Director Kelly Diekmann in a press release. "Ames Plan 2040 is a multi-step effort that will empower residents to identify community interests and priorities related to Ames’ future and growth for the next 20 years.”
The city council approved a $250,000 contract with RDG Planning and Design last October to work on the Comprehensive Plan. Associates from RDG, an architecture company with offices across the Midwest, displayed a planning timeline last December that aims to wrap up the planning process by 2020.
The city council voiced concerns that the timeline might not offer enough public input, but RDG assured the council that the schedule was purely tentative, and they plan to adjust the timeline to meet with as much of the community as possible. They also emphasized that they want to encourage community involvement throughout the planning process.
“For us, focus groups are an immersion of the issues,” said Marty Shukert, an RDG planner, in city council meeting last December. “We’ll need [the council’s] help getting in touch with groups and people we need to talk to.”