At the first public hearing Tuesday, Three Rivers Regional Commission Planner Aronda Smith explained the plan “provides a blue print for physical, social, economic development for the city. It focuses on land use, transportation, economic development, public infrastructure issues and opportunities in the area.”
Smith said the plan “is a vision on how to move forward. After the vision, we consider implementation strategies.”
The plan has to be updated every five years for the city to maintain qualified city status for state and federal loans and grants. City Manager Kenny Smith explained the incentive for the city to have the comprehensive plan: “If you don’t have one, you don’t get anything.”
Some of the issues raised at Tuesday’s meeting included getting young people involved, as well as other members of the community, including the school system, although it is a city plan. Smith said “it should collaborate with existing plans” from other governmental agencies, including the Griffin Housing Authority, school system and some of the city’s other plans.
There were also concerns raised about there being no outlets for youth and no opportunities to keep them here.
“We’re seeing our youth already out of Griffin or trying to get out,” City Commissioner Shaheer Beyah said.
Part of the comprehensive plan includes economic development, which was explained as “what does the community need to attract jobs”
Another issue raised was opportunities for convicted felons and recidivism among those paroled from prison. Smith noted that was not part of the comprehensive plan which has a primary focus of economic development, land use and housing issues.
She said there is a community service component, “to determine what capacity there is for that, if a facility is needed, we can do that. But for a feasibility assessment, our plan won’t do that for that.”
Smith explained, “It could be addressed as an issue, but would not be part of the comprehensive plan. It would need a separate plan.”
It could be a documented need for the city, explained Planning and Development Director Taurus Freeman, and the city plan could be referenced by a private organization when applying for funding to address recidivism.