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The Perfect Prelude:
Aug. 2 workshop a big hit

Aug 03, 2011

When acting Ranson city manager Andy Blake got the feeling that the scheduled August 2 workshop was going to attract more folks than everyone originally thought, he decided to switch the venue from the community room at City Hall to the larger Independent Fire Hall a block away.

Good thing. More than 50 people signed in on Tuesday night, listened to Ranson’s consulting team explain the process ahead and took part in an exercise to evaluate how the city currently devotes space to people, cars, buildings and green space.

For many, it was an eye-opener, especially when it comes to the percentage of Ranson and environs set aside to accommodate automobiles. Is the people/car balance out of whack? And if it is, how do you rebalance the space?

The balance question is at the heart of the process that will reach its climax September 8-14 when the City of Ranson and its consultants host a weeklong, hands-on workshop to shape a regulatory plan to guide future growth in ways that match citizens’ goals and long-range economic opportunity. It’s a very public enterprise. In fact, public participation will be a key to its success in the short-term and its impact over the long haul.

Read all about the goals of the September workshop in the column to the immediate right. And soon, you can check back to this website to see the day-by-day schedule of meetings and work sessions for the week. Workshop components are being tweaked to respond to what the team heard during the August 2 prep event.

This ambitious effort is made possible by Ranson’s aggressive pursuit of resources from a new federal agency partnership to encourage exactly the sort of comprehensive planning the City is undertaking. In the video below, acting city manager Andy Blake explains how grants are being combined to advance the City’s goals.

What was clear on August 2 is that impacts of the new regulatory approach and transportation planning will not be limited to Ranson alone. Officials from Jefferson County and Charles Town attended the meeting and took part in the community conversation with an eye to adapting ideas — or at least supporting ideas — generated during the September workshop week and beyond. Charles Town city planner Katie See explains the city-to-city connection in the video below.

Put the September 8-14 workshop on your calendars, tell your friends and watch these web pages for updates leading into the event.

We’d love to hear your comments and questions. Use the space below or contact City staff directly by going to the Contact tab in the toolbar above.

3 Responses to “The Perfect Prelude:
Aug. 2 workshop a big hit”


  1. Walt Burke says:

    WE are fixing up our home (1888 or 98) to meet the future development planned for across the way from us. But I would like to see more activity in the neighborhoods such as fixing up sidewalks, paving over the stone parking areas getting home owners especially the landlords of rented properties more involved the taking better care of their property.

    It would be great if all people got involved in taking pride in their homes and do want they could to fix what they could.

    Maybe there people living here with the talent to help others to fix their property like Christmas in July.

    • Natassia says:

      Technically, sidewalks are the responsibility of property owners, not the City. Considering the average household income is thirty-something thousand a year, it is unlikely that sidewalk maintenance will be a priority for most home owners.

      And since landlords must pay DOUBLE the property taxes than people in owner-occupied homes (not to mention higher insurance rates) it might be understandable that they do not put much money into property maintenance activities like sidewalk repair.

      Pride in one’s neighborhood is important. But it doesn’t pay the bills.

  2. Andy Blake says:

    Thanks you for this valuable contribution to our community discussion and for fixing your property. While neighborhood sidewalks and landscaping may not be on the agenda for this workshop, we’re very much hoping to address what we take as the core theme of your comment. We’re out to inspire folks who live and work in Ranson to celebrate our advantages and to shape future growth to build on them. For this project, the enhancements target public space along our main corridors and explore a regulatory framework to protect and enhance what we most like about our communities.

    We believe pride in this effort will spill over into the private realm in neighborhoods and into neighborhood organizations that will seize the opportunity for taking on the kinds of projects you suggest.

    Please bring your ideas to our September 8-14 workshop. And we’ll see how the week’s collaboration can build a foundation for some of your goals.


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TERMS OF USE: This online forum is an extension of the public process with the same expectations for respect and civility. Comments may be moderated for relevance and decorum, but will not be edited on the basis of their ideas. If you have specific questions that require a formal response, please submit them directly to our project contact(s), accessible via the site navigation at the top of each page.


  • Headline

    SPU Logo

    Ranson and Charles Town's next 100 years begin now.

    From September 8 through the 14th, we're charting the course for our next century. And everyone's invited.

    In an unprecedented week-long mega-workshop, city officials, residents, business community and a team of international consultants will be considering ideas and actions to help guide Ranson, Charles Town, and Jefferson County towards a future rich in opportunity for our families and businesses.



    The Ranson-Charles Town community has been selected by HUD, DOT and EPA to serve as a national model for how small rural cities on the fringe of a major metropolitan area can foster sustainable economic development, transit, and community livability through targeted and strategic planning and infrastructure investments.



    To facilitate this transformative change, planning funds are being used for the following linked and interdependent project components:

    + Develop a new zoning overlay district for downtown, as well as undeveloped, outlying areas of the Cities;

    + Redesign the Fairfax Boulevard-George Street Corridor into a "complete street" with green infrastructure, to promote a better transportation route for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit;

    + Design a new regional Charles Washington Commuter Center in downtown Charles Town that will facilitate access to regional rail and bus transit systems for Ranson, Charles Town and Jefferson County; and

    + Create a master plan for downtown Ranson that spurs job growth and economic development in former dilapidated manufacturing sites.

    It all starts with an opening presentation on September 8.

    “We couldn’t be happier about the way this process is shaping up,” says Ranson Mayor A. David Hamill. “It is our goal to continue evolving Ranson into a vibrant community where residents can live, work, and recreate within cohesive neighborhoods. Exciting things are beginning to happen, and I expect the next 12 to 18 months to be even more exciting as the real work begins to plan our future.”

    Come, and lend your voice. There'll be all kinds of ways to participate, even for events you can't attend in person. So don't miss it.





  • FILES AVAILABLE
    Review adopted files of our Comp Plan update and new zoning option here. FEDERAL GRANTS
    Moving forward, whenever appropriate, you'll see our news posts identify the respective source(s) of project funding with one or more of these icons:

    This video explains the grants, along with the process overall.
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