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Wanted: Bureau County input

Public meetings set throughout the county

PRINCETON — Bureau County residents are invited to put in their two cents on a future development discussion for the county.

The Bureau County Regional Planning Commission has set up four public meetings throughout the county to get input from residents on issues and ideas concerning the future of Bureau County. That input will be incorporated into an updated comprehensive plan for the county.

As announced in a press release from Bureau County Zoning Enforcement Officer Kris Donarski, the purpose of these public meetings is to “engage the citizens of Bureau County in public dialogue, identify values of Bureau County residents, identify and create a vision of the future for Bureau County, and identify Bureau County issues and opportunities.”

The public hearings are set for 7 p.m. March 24 at the Bureau Valley Administrative Office in Manlius; at 7 p.m. March 25 at the LaMoille Lions Club; at 7 p.m. April 1 at Buda Community Hall; and at 7 p.m. April 2 at the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton.

On Monday, Donarski said the county’s existing comprehensive plan was completed in the 1960s and needs to be updated. Citizen participation is very important to the comprehensive planning process and will help the planning commission in defining goals and objectives to help shape the county’s future.

As far as the format for the public hearings, Donarski said there will be a moderator for the hearings, which are expected to last about an hour. The hearings are expected to cover a wide variety of topics, including things like the use and preservation of natural resources within the county, housing issues, economic development, population issues and roads. The idea is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the county and how to address those strengths and weaknesses for the future, she said.

Depending upon the extent of input from these public hearings, the updated comprehensive plan could be completed within the next six months. The updated plan will be submitted to the Bureau County Board for final approval.

Once completed and approved, the comprehensive plan will be used as a blueprint and guide for future growth and development within the county. In time, Donarski hopes to have the updated comprehensive plan placed on the county’s website.

Serving on the Bureau County Regional Planning Commission are chairman Karen Schlenz of Spring Valley, Pat Wiggim of rural Wyanet, Joe Kunkel of rural Tiskilwa, Jon Pickering of Neponset, Jack Ackerman of Walnut, Sue Pratt of Arlington and Deb Madsen of Princeton.

The Bureau County Regional Planning Commission represents areas from throughout the county, Donarski said.

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