Buckhannon 2025 blasting off with community survey

BUCKHANNON — What are your reasons for choosing to live or work in the Buckhannon community? How satisfied are you with the local economic growth?

Do you feel like your voice is heard in city government? What about in county government?

These are some of the questions on a community survey out for comment by the Buckhannon Planning Commission.

The results of the survey as well as input gleaned at community meetings will be used to help formulate the city’s long-term plan, Buckhannon 2025.

Although few attended a December public forum of the Buckhannon Planning Commission, there will be a big community input  meeting Monday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Public Safety Complex Training Room. The planning commission hopes as many people as possible from the public come to give their thoughts on what they want included in the Buckhannon 2025 plan.                                                                                                                                             Curtis Wilkerson, chair of the planning commission, told those in the Dec. 10 meeting that under West Virginia code 8A-3-1, cities are charged with filing a comprehensive plan every few years.

The previous version of the comprehensive plan was known as Buckhannon 2015 while this next plan will be called Buckhannon 2025.

“The Buckhannon Planning Commission has a goal of getting their plan to the Buckhannon City  Council by July 1, 2019 to review, Wilkerson said.

Following the Jan. 14 big community input meeting, the planning commission will reconvene on Feb. 11 to discuss the public meetings and survey results.

It will then hope to have a draft to city council by June and a final version by July 1.

“We feel this is an aggressive timeline,” he said.

Members of the planning commission are serving as chairs of various sub committees while pulling in community members to help as needed.

Chairs for the sub committees are: Catherine Cuppari and C.J. Rylands for community, Jack Reger for education, Dean Everett for health care, Matt Kerner for recreation, Dr. Susan Aloi for economic development, Wilkerson for government services and Rich Clemens for infrastruc-tures.

Those committees are meeting outside of the regular planning commission sessions on an as needed basis.

“We are working to have a very open system and to be out with surveys and so forth,” he said.

As of the Dec. 10 meeting, more than 400 surveys had been returned, according to Aloi.

The largest demographic of those who had returned surveys came from the 30s-40s age range.

“Almost a third of the responses are from Wesleyan students,” she added, noting that Wesleyan students appeared to have returned the survey after receiving it in their inboxes.

Surveys were also being distributed to the school system, various list serves such as the chamber of commerce and Create Buckhannon and more.

At the Dec. 10 meeting, the group talked about how to capture the senior citizen population of Buckhannon’s thoughts and also how to extend the survey beyond the city limits.

The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RPYCTL8.


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