The Town of North Liberty has engaged Abonmarche Consultants to implement a process that will update both the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and the Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan. This process will confirm the community’s vision and outline a strategic framework for future development, redevelopment, and community capital projects within the Town, with an emphasis on strategies that will reinforce the factors that create a high quality of life for North Liberty residents and enhance the Town’s economic competitiveness within the region. The current comprehensive plan was created in 2015, while the Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan was completed in 2016. Combined, these documents set the foundation for the Stellar Communities application and ensuing grant funding opportunities. Building on the momentum of being named a Stellar Community and the successful implementation of the Stellar Projects, the new comprehensive plan will identify future activity and projects.
The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to guide the Town’s leadership, including the Town Council, Park and Recreation Board, and staff regarding the type, location, and intensity of development and redevelopment in the Town, as well as providing information to assist the Area Plan Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and planning staff relating to key land use decisions. The plan will contain goals and recommendations related to future land use, transportation improvements, quality of life initiatives, and economic development efforts; implementation policies; and project priorities.
The existing Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan was completed in 2016, and needs to be updated for the Town to maintain eligibility for the IDNR Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program, along with other state grant funding opportunities. The Five-Year Master Plan will be created as a stand-alone document for submittal and approval by the IDNR. However, as parks and recreation amenities have a significant impact on quality of life for residents and tourists, the key findings, recommendations and implementation strategies will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, the process will leverage stakeholder and resident engagement and input activities for both plans.
The planning process will occur over a span of 9 months and, when complete, will create a shared vision for future growth and development, encompass meaningful and inclusive public engagement, identify and and engage key stakeholders, establish clear guidance with a user-friendly document and establish achievable implementation plans. The process will include four key phases of work, each of which have a variety of community engagement and outreach opportunities
Phase 1: Discovery | Community Needs Assessment & Analysis | 8 Weeks
In the Discovery Phase, Abonmarche kicks off the project with the North Liberty Team, collects existing demographics, market and physical conditions data, analyzes that data, and begins to organize opportunities and issues to be addressed in the plan. During this phase of the project, working with staff, the community outreach and engagement process is developed and begins being implemented.
Phase 2: Visioning | Input Meetings and Vision Settings | 8 Weeks
Building upon the results of the Discovery Phase, the Visioning Phase will focus on affirming the community’s key values and confirming the Community’s vision for future as developed in the previous planning processes. Outcomes of this phase will set the basis for recommendations provided in the plan.
Phase 3: Framework | Plan Elements | 8 Weeks
The Framework Phase is when we will synthesize the technical analysis of the Discovery Phase with community input and results of the Visioning Phase into the plan elements and policy recommendations for:
- Land Use
- Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Facilities including North Liberty Parks
- Economics and Businesses both current conditions and trends
- Environmental Conditions and areas of special interest
- Other areas defined by the Steering Committee
- Quality of Life
Phase 4: Action | Implementation, Draft & Final Plan | 12 Weeks
During the Action Phase, we will develop the implementation strategies and the comprehensive plan. This will include the project process, outcomes, vision, plan elements and recommendations, and implementation plan.
Goals and Deliverables
- ROBUST & INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: A well-developed Master Plan should actively address and respond to key issues facing the community through public engagement with residents, the business community, and important stakeholders. Community Engagement activities will be included throughout the planning process. Planning and implementing stakeholder engagement will involve combining innovative web-based engagement tools with traditional face-to-face and/or remote interviews, ensuring our public engagement process will cast a wide net and provide an inclusive atmosphere for both plan area stakeholders and all community residents.
- INNOVATIVE & USER FRIENDLY PLAN: It’s important for planning documents to be developed and organized with an understanding of the many audiences they serve. This includes elected and appointed leaders, Town staff, the development community, and residents and businesses. The planning documents should be organized in a clear and concise manner which is easy to navigate.
- PRESENTATION GRAPHICS: High-quality graphics and renderings increase the effectiveness of public engagements as they provide a visual representation of all the text involved in the plan. Graphics also help to get conversation started and spur responses and feedback on plan components as they help to explain recommendations and development strategies in an easy to evaluate format.