The Economic Development Commission Strategic Plan Working Group received the first draft of the plan during their meeting Thursday morning, March 22.
Chris Hamm, a principal planner with American Structurepoint, who is aiding the group with the project, did not want to give the plan, which is a plan to boost economic development in a 1,000-acre south east quadrant of Zionsville, out for public consumption yet.
“This is a working document,” he said. “We are not hiding anything from the public, but the group is just now getting this for the first time. We need to work through the plan before we open it up for public consumption.”
Hammsaid the group needed a chance to review the document and make changes to it before presenting it to the public.
“To release it, gives the perception that (the group) has reviewed it and given (their) blessing, which has not happened,” he said. “We need to have thoughtful review and criticism before presenting it to the public. We will present this to the public.”
Hammsaid he has already noted some changes that need to be made within the plan.
“In reviewing it last night, there are components that do need to be discussed or changed,” he said. “There are some areas where you may want more depth or detail, and there are some areas where you may want less detail.”
Hammwent through the format of the document with the group during the meeting.
“This document is slightly different than similar documents,” he said. “Our intent is to have more of an education component with this since there is a lot of misconception. We talk about what a (Tax Increment Financing) District is and why it’s in place; we explain why we are looking at this area of the community.”
Town Manager Ed Mitro said there needed to be more information about the TIF district.
“After so much misconception about what a TIF district is, we need more in there,” he said. “There is a mention of it, but I think we need more.”
Hammsaid he would add more information about the TIF district and put the description into simple terms so everyone can understand its function.
Hammsaid the document discusses each component of the plan.
“We talk about our vision and the goals that are built from that vision,” he said. “We don’t want to get too far into details, but we do need to have some level of details.”
Hammsaid he prioritized each goal in the document.
“Some of these prioritizations are default positions until the group comments on the plan,” he said. “The group may have a completely different feeling on the prioritization. I reserve the right to be wrong, and I reserve the right to miss something.”
Hammsaid he felt an executive summary would also be helpful for the document.
“Right now that is missing,” he said. “Something that people can pull out and read to summarize will be helpful, but I felt it shouldn’t be done until all the components and document is done.”
Hammleft the group with a lot of homework.
“Review this document critically and provide me with a lot of feedback,” he said. “We are part of the way through the story, but it’s not complete.”
The working group will make revisions to the draft and present the draft for public consumption during their next meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the Town Hall Community Room, 1100 W. Oak St.