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The Mayor and Commission strategic goals and objectives directed staff to “Work with community environmental and transportation groups and Unified Government staff, to define the major components of a sustainability plan and identify benchmarks for success.” Much like how Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan will be very detailed in addressing transportation issues, the sustainability plan provides us with an opportunity to take a closer look at items critical to sustaining our environment.
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The sustainability plan is a long-term communitywide plan that details how we will reduce our environmental impact, grow the economy, and improve the community in which we live. The purpose of this plan is to provide both a big picture vision of where the community is headed in specific goal areas and to identify specific steps that are needed to advance an individual goal. To provide a more complete picture, we are also highlighting big-picture successes our community has accomplished in the pursuit of these goals.
There are a couple of things that set this process apart from other ongoing efforts. They include:
They remain in effect and are important to guiding our community’s progress. Existing plans like the Greenway Network Plan and the Workforce Housing Study are guiding documents for the development of the sustainability plan. Whenever possible, we have cross-referenced back to these plans. Ongoing plans like Envision Athens, the Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan, and the Downtown Health and Safety Study are more broadly referenced in the sustainability plan. We believe the greatest success is likely to be found where these plans have overlapping recommendations that emerge from their different approaches.
So far, Athens-Clarke County staff from 15 different departments have invested over 1,400 hours reviewing other plans, national best practices, and current progress within the community. They have used this information to draft 64 long-term goals and approximately 650 actions to be completed within the next five years. We now need additional ideas and input to make this plan more complete in its design.
The staff effort so far is just the first step. Because we work so closely with these subject areas, we recognize our community can't be successful in these areas without the contributions of our non-profits, businesses, volunteers, and citizens.
Through the spring and summer of 2018, we will engage with community stakeholders on the eleven subject areas. Following this input, we will compile and refine feedback to develop a plan that more broadly describes the contributions of stakeholders across the community. Ultimately, this compiled data will be converted to a narrative format and shared with the public for additional feedback and editing. It will take up to a year to complete this process.