SHEFFIELD — After 34 years, it’s time for the Sheffield to create a new comprehensive plan, according to some city officials.
City Councilman Steve Stanley, who is also the chairman of the city’s Planning Board, said the board has started collecting information, taking an inventory of the city’s assets and defining the challenges the city faces.
“The last comprehensive plan was in 1979,” Stanley said.
Stanley said it was around that time that Sheffield began losing population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
He said creators of the plan were optimistic at that time the Census information was “an aberration” and the city’s population would increase.
“It wasn’t a very good plan,” Stanley said. “It didn’t call for any action.”
Stanley said he wants the new plan to present a clear understanding of Sheffield’s situation and identify actions that can help improve it.
Teresa Rogers, an All State Insurance agent and member of the planning group, said she wants to hear Sheffield residents’ opinions and thoughts on what improvements the city should focus on.
Rogers said she wants to hear both positive and negative comments about Sheffield.
“I’m responsible for tourism,” she said. “That’s the section I’m going to focus on.”
Rogers plans to collect information on attractions and places of interest, health care facilities and hospitality-related business in Sheffield. She wants to determine how to bring them to the forefront and use them to attract people to the city.
“There are lots of different sections we’re taking and dissecting and writing a plan for,” Rogers said.
Other board members share the belief that a comprehensive plan will benefit the city.
“We’re going to take a look at everything that would interest anyone who would ever want to live in Sheffield,” board member Allen Hughes said.
Hughes said businesses considering a move to Sheffield might inquire about the city’s comprehensive plan.
He said the information gathering portion of the project will involved a lot of public meetings to gather input.
Mayor Ian Sanford said he sees the new comprehensive plan as a road map to the future, but he wants to be able to maintain some flexibility.
“You’d like to be able to find strengths and weaknesses, maintain the strengths and reverse the weaknesses,” Sanford said. “It’s certainly not a bad thing to have.”
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.