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Chicago firm recommended to lead local planning effort

The Fort Wayne and Allen County Land Use Governing Board is recommending that the city of Fort Wayne and Allen County hire Houseal Lavigne Associates to prepare the next community comprehensive plan.

On Tuesday, an ordinance for approval of the contract will be introduced to Fort Wayne City Council to fund 50 percent of the project costs, or $333,530. The other 50 percent will need approval from the Allen County Council. The Allen County Commissioners and Mayor Tom Henry will be asked to approve the project contract.

The Governing Board received eight proposals to develop the plan and interviewed five teams before beginning negotiations with Houseal Lavigne Associates, based in Chicago. Houseal Lavigne Associates is a professional consulting firm specializing in all aspects of community planning, urban design, and economic development. They have worked with more than 250 communities across the country, including a wide range of public and private sector planning, development, and design-related assignments in 22 states.

The consulting team will work with local leaders to develop a plan that will: create a shared vision for future growth and development, encompass meaningful and inclusive public engagement, identify stakeholders, establish clear guidance with a user-friendly document, and establish an achievable implementation plan. The project is expected to kick off in January 2020 and be complete at the end of 2021.

The community’s last comprehensive plan, called Plan-it Allen, was adopted in 2007 and was the first time a local comprehensive plan was created jointly by the City and County. Many of the elements of that plan have either been accomplished or are now outdated. The next comprehensive plan will again be a joint effort of the City and County and will provide guidance for the city of Fort Wayne, Allen County, and the communities of Huntertown, Grabill, Monroeville and Woodburn.

The creation of comprehensive plans is governed by state law. Comprehensive plans set the vision for the future growth and development of an area; they are created under the leadership of a plan commission or several plan commissions.

Throughout the planning process, there will be significant opportunity for public engagement. Public comment is essential because the final plan will provide guidance to decision makers and elected officials regarding land use and zoning, policy creation and capital improvements.

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