by Alan McArthur
After a year of work, the Platte Profile was presented to the Platte County Commission on Thursday as a completed project from Olsson Associates.
Through numerous focus group meetings, a citizen committee, and public input, seven focus areas were developed for the plan.
The areas are: community partnerships and collaboration, economic development and tourism, environment and sustainability, growth and planning, parks and recreation, public safety and emergency preparedness, and transportation and infrastructure.
From these seven areas, 167 action steps were devised to ensure the areas had goals that were attainable.
Some of the goals for community partnerships and collaboration include:
Promoting the use of the 2-1-1 phone number which connects callers with social services applicable to them; improving transportation for people who need health and human services; optimizing resources by promoting collaboration between parks and recreation departments, school districts, sports entities, and the arts; and developing a regional animal shelter.
A few of the goals for economic development and tourism include:
Becoming a larger part of the Kansas City regional tourism market; ensuring adequate infrastructure is built to support development and tourism; and celebrating and encouraging the county's diverse historical identities.
For the environment and sustainability area, goals include:
Promoting and providing incentives for green jobs and industries; creating a public education program to raise awareness of sustainability; developing a county-wide waste minimization and recycling plan; and ensuring sustainability is a priority in county decisions.
The growth and planning area's goals include:
Encouraging growth patterns based on available infrastructure, physical and geographical considerations, and abundant green space; adopting standards to make commercial and industrial developments meet certain aesthetic guidelines; and updating the land use plan and land use map reflecting quality development for preserving green space.
For the parks and recreation area, goals include:
Building awareness and promoting parks and recreational facilities in Platte County; continuing the parks sales tax; continuing to build land and water-based trail and greenway connections; and expanding the indoor and outdoor facilities and creating a more diverse park system.
The two goals for public safety and emergency preparedness are:
Providing “up-to-date equipment and adequate space, funding, and staffing to meet the requirements of first-class public safety, law enforcement, criminal prosecution, and emergency management, including public awareness; and evaluating the consolidation of fire districts and EMS systems.
The seventh area with goals is transportation and infrastructure:
Evaluating the consolidation of utility and transportation districts; evaluate a regional transit system; improving roads and bridges for the safety of the traveling public; and protecting the existing transportation corridors and preserving corridors for future growth.
One of the leading advocates for the Platte Profile is Betty Knight, Platte County presiding commissioner.
“I am quite impressed and very pleased with the amount of citizen involvement we had throughout the process,” said Knight. “We are fortunate to have such engaged citizens in our county who care so much about our future; they really drove our process to establish these goals and priorities.”
As part of the Platte Profile project, the county also conducted a survey of citizen opinions on many topics facing the county. Those results are also included in the final report presented to the commission.
The complete Platte Profile document from Olsson Associates is available at www.platteprofile.com.