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Nacogdoches city council to discuss next steps for comprehensive planning

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 2:26 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Nacogdoches city staff could receive directives at Tuesday’s city council meeting to select and hire consultants for two long-range plans.

On the other hand, they could be asked to slow down.

“I just think there are some tasks to be accomplished before,” said city council member Kathleen Belanger. “It’s not like, let’s wait for another year.”

City manager Mario Canizares faced over 100 citizens at two public forums held last week. Among the suggestions is waiting before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting plans.

“I’m for a plan and definitely a downtown plan. We need one,” was one public comment. “So, I’m just looking at our tax dollars. We’re coming out of a crappy 2020,” the speaker continued.

Belanger says she’s hearing similar comments elsewhere from constituents.

“Coming straight out of a pandemic. Coming straight out of the ice storm. And frankly they’re concerned about the roads, the water system and all these infrastructure issues.”

City Planner Alaina Chafin began developing strategies in December last year. Workshops and public meetings followed. She says the process is far from hasty to reach the point where the city is now.

“We’ve interviewed the top three finalists for each plan, but we haven’t moved forward with the selection process yet,” said Chafin.

First, Kathleen Belanger has on the agenda a proposal to develop a communications task force and reach out to underserved areas. In addition, she wants to spend time researching the studies already on hand to ask, “Why it worked. Why it didn’t work. Why it wasn’t implemented even before we get into the next step of comprehensive planning.”

The city initially had a public survey portal open for comments on both the city’s comprehensive plan and downtown master plan. That survey window closed Monday at 5 p.m. Staff will compile them for Tuesday’s city council meeting. It starts at 5:30. That meeting will be placed on the city website, along with updates and previous comprehensive planning meetings.

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