The Perfect Prelude:
Aug. 2 workshop a big hit

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.