Helena’s next Comprehensive Plan meeting set for Oct. 20

Published 8:16 am Thursday, October 14, 2021

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – Helena’s major leaders are planning to hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 20 to hear the community’s ideas regarding the growth and well-being of the city.

According to a press release administered by the city, the community kick-off is open to “anyone who cares about the future of Helena,” and attendees are encouraged to bring their “big ideas” to the forum.

“The Community Kickoff is the first opportunity for residents to participate in the City’s new comprehensive planning process,” it reads in the press release. “The Kickoff Workshop will be informative, interactive, and fun.”

Attendees will be led through a series of discussions focused on the future of the community, and all participants are asked to consider any future hopes or concerns they may have for the city of Helena. The Planning Committee will use all input in their process of mapping out priorities and opportunities.

“The seated agenda will run 90 minutes, followed by interactive activities where participants can give their input regarding the future of Helena,” the press release continues.

“If you care about Helena this process ought to be a priority,” said Helena Mayor Brian Puckett. “This can be a real moment-in-time for our community; one where we make a strong statement about who we are and how we’re going to get there. But the community needs to drive. We need everyone to find a way to connect with us through this project and we’re going to make it easy and safe to do so. The Kickoff is the first major opportunity, but we’ll continue the conversation through the process. We want everyone to bring their BIG ideas and push the conversation.”

City Councilmember Chris VanCleave said a lot has changed in Helena over the last 20 years.

“It’s not just the population growth, but all that comes with it,” he said. “We’re a community of choice around the region and that comes with its own challenges. I’m excited for One Connected Community because it gives us the chance to take a breath, look around, and make good, collective decisions about where we want to head.”

Helena launched the comprehensive planning project in summer 2021. The goal of the project is to supply leaders of Helena with a plan that will guide them towards making decisions about land use, development, transportation, parks, housing and more for the next 20 years.

“Over the next 20 years, the plan will help shape policy, guide decision making and integrate the priorities of the public into major investments,” the press release reads.

Helena has experienced significant growth over the past three decades, adding close to 16,000 new residents from 1990, and the One Connected Community project will evaluate and plan for the growing capacity needs and envision key quality of place enhancements.

The meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. at the Helena Community Center, and all attendees are asked to register at Helenacomprehensiveplan.com. The Planning Committee is asking participants to please consider wearing a mask and practice social distancing throughout the event.