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Course for Future Development in City of Bridgeport Ready to be Set with Comprehensive Plan Update

By Jeff Toquinto on April 16, 2018 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

More than two decades ago, Bridgeport leaders saw the growth that was in front of it and wanted to find a way to control it. The best way, it was determined, was to create a blueprint for all future growth and the way to do it was through the creation of a comprehensive plan.
 
At the time, city leaders insisted the plan would not sit on a shelf. Instead, they said it would be used as a development tool well into the future. Twenty-two years later, it’s safe to say the talk back then wasn’t hyperbole.
 
Starting next month, the City of Bridgeport will do another five year update to the plan. It’s an update of the plan that was prepared for Bridgeport in April of 1996 by the Baltimore-based engineering firm of Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani.
 
At the time, Carl Furbee was the city’s mayor. Council consisted of Ruth Allen, Larry Blankenship, Mike Conley, Charles Lindsey and John Westfall and that group’s vision carries on to this day.
 
“This pre-dates me even living in high school,” said Community Development Director Andrea Kerr on the plan’s future update. “It pre-dates the building we’re in right now and it even pre-dates (City Manager) Kim Haws.”
 
At the time, the late Harold Weiler was serving as city manager. He was the city’s first-ever manager after the Council scrapped the strong-mayor form of government.
 
“Since that time, the city has tried to update it every five years to keep our goals in line and to make sure growth is orderly. This document really sets the tone for future growth in Bridgeport and has become an extremely important document,” said Kerr. “It’s a working document. What we do with this update will be important.”
 
The update will be handled by Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning, a consulting company out of Cincinnati. Kerr said Moeller was responsible for the last update of the plan.
 
“We have scheduled the first meeting for the beginning of May,” said Kerr. “The first step will involve members of Council, the Planning Commission and department heads.”
 
In the past, the community has also be asked to take part. That will again be the case as the process moves forward.
 
“There will be on-line surveys, focus groups and other items and activities where we will engage the community and get their input,” said Kerr.
 
The plan has many functions. For example in the most recent update one of the areas involved housing needs and the city has been able to work with developers to make an impact in that area. Nearly every area on the development front – from commercial to residential – is covered.
 
“It’s our outlook, our blueprint, for future growth,” said Kerr.
 
For anyone that would like to be involved in a focus group, they can contact Kerr. She can be reached by email at akerr@bridgeportwv.com.


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