Workshop sets priorities for Comprehensive Plan

Workshop sets priorities for Comprehensive Plan Over 40 Vermillion residents, city staff, and public officials gathered Feb. 21 to identify priorities for Vermillion Comprehensive Plan projects that should be carried out within the next five years.

Led by the city-hired consultant firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH), the workshop was one of two scheduled by the city to involve the public in sorting through the nearly 50 policies in the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the Vermillion City Council last November.

"Now is the time to bring focus to implementation," said City Manager Jeff Pederson in his opening remarks. In thanking each of those present for participating in the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan, Pederson asked for their continued input to ensure that the community continues to work together to improve Vermillion.

Workshop participants included representatives from Vermillion Can Do!, The University of South Dakota, Vermillion Beautiful, the Vermillion Development Company, the chamber of commerce, the library board, the board of education, principals of a number of local schools, the planning commission, the Historic Preservation Commission, the city department heads, and members of the Vermillion City Council.

Workshop participants rated the following Comprehensive Plan projects at the top of their list:

* Renovating or replacing city hall to correct structural, space and public accommodation deficiencies;

* Encouraging growth within existing undeveloped areas in the city limits as indicated on the future land use map;

* Working with USD to designate an official USD entrance via the SD 50 bypass and Ratingen Strasse with explicit signage, and

* Encouraging the enhancement of gateways to the community including East Cherry Street using welcome signs and a citywide landscape plan.

Facilitator Dan Cornejo of SEH led the participants in exercises that encouraged them to focus on mutual interests rather than personal agendas, to differentiate between the essential and the desired, and to appreciate the logical sequencing of projects. He advised them to consider high visibility projects that enhanced the visual image and perception of Vermillion, projects that promoted connections between neighborhoods, and projects that enabled residents, businesses, and institutions to collaborate and cooperate.

The second workshop will take place in about two months, allowing SEH time to address operational and technical issues associated with implementation of these projects to bring cost estimates forward. The focus of the second workshop will permit participants to review their recommended priorities, make revisions based on the new information presented by the consultants, and confirm their recommendations to the Vermillion City Council.

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