Reynoldsburg city leaders say they are eager to kick off a comprehensive planning process that will take most of 2018 to complete.

The end result, however, would be a comprehensive master plan that would serve as "a road map to the future," said Bill Sampson, director of public service.

"It will involve an inventory and analysis of existing conditions and solicitation of public input," he said. "The questions, 'What do we have?' 'What do we want?' and 'How do we get there?' would be answered."

Sampson said the city would work with OHM Advisors at a cost of $120,000 for most of next year.

"We have our kickoff meeting this week," he said Dec. 18. "We will talk about a schedule and when we will have public meetings to get community input.

"Public input is critical for a master plan," he said. "Implementation of this plan will help us ensure that Reynoldsburg continues to be a great place to live and raise a family."

He said the planning process likely would take about nine months and would involve several stakeholder meetings and public forums.

Aaron Domini of OHM Advisors said creating the plan "would ensure that city staff and leadership has a blueprint to make informed capital decisions, as well as evaluate future development."

Domini said comprehensive planning typically includes a review of existing conditions, public involvement, established goals, data collection, plan preparation, implementation strategies and plan implementation and monitoring.

City Council President Doug Joseph credited Councilman Stephen Cicak, who was elected city auditor in November, as "the person behind the master-plan idea."

"The plan will streamline the process of developing and redeveloping areas of the city that are designated for improvement," Joseph said. "Implementing a master plan has been suggested a number of times in the past, but it lacked the leadership and vision to really get the idea off the ground."

He said Cicak had participated in a program with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission that included a segment on developing and implementing master plans.

Cicak said new revenue from an income-tax increase approved in May paved the way for future development.

"We passed Issue 11 for new revenue last spring by an overwhelming majority," he said. "A plan that addresses the mutual needs of our city and school district will bring business investment, efficient use of tax dollars and ensures Reynoldsburg is a city where families will continue to want to move to."

He credited Sampson and Eric Snowden, director of planning and zoning, and MORPC representatives Kerstin Carr and Jennifer Noll for their input.

"MORPC leaders predict 1 million more people living in central Ohio by 2050," Cicak said. "We need to have a plan for the future. We need to work together."

Councilman Marshall Spalding said he is thrilled that the city will have "a compass for the future."

"Now there will be a process to truly assess where we are at this point and to strategically lay out where we want to go, with it mapped out," he said. "This is a huge step forward for our city."

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