New strategic plan needed for Children's Home property

To the Editor:

Regarding the development of the 40-acre tract on High Street in Worthington in contract by the United Methodist Children's Home: Thank you to friends and members of WARD (Worthington Alliance for Responsible Development) for their combined efforts in addressing this manifestly significant issue in the history of our beloved city.

I am a great believer in strategic plans and am proposing that a new plan be written. What is wrong with the current plan? The nicest thing we can say is that it is outdated. In today's fast-paced world, 2005 is a long time ago and many things have happened since -- the housing bubble is only one of them.

Worthington should hire a professional developer/architect of national repute to design the plan that meets our goals. These goals should be determined in a significant, aggressive and sustained public dialog. A start for the list of community goals might look something like the following:

This development should bring Worthington nationwide attention and put us on the map. It should attract visitors to see how we did it, and make our residents proud.

It should be enticing for people to want to live here and provide an appealing climate for businesses to move their operations to Worthington.

It should be walkable with a sociable environment with green spaces, sidewalks and paths that lead to real destinations.

There should be a balance of housing styles in proximity to stores, shops and services that meet the everyday needs of residents.

There should be energy efficiency, sustainability and model development, like pocket neighborhoods.

It should leverage our prestigious historic heritage and differentiate us from surrounding neighborhoods in economic and human terms.

The city of Worthington should take ownership of park and recreational areas and assume their maintenance.

It should be added to the architectural review district.

There is no need for me to continue because I honestly believe in the power of the public dialog.

The people of Worthington need to take ownership and support this process. We have everything to gain by doing so. This project will shape Worthington for several generations, and we owe those generations our best efforts.

Some will say that it is too difficult to accomplish, but this is not walking across the Alleghenies. When Worthington thrives, we all benefit. We should do this for ourselves and our posterity.

Jim Ventresca