The draft of an updated community plan for Grandview Heights recommends action steps to set a vision of the city's future and a suggestion to ensure that vision is achieved.

Both components of the city's Growing on Tradition strategic planning process were reviewed March 26 at a community meeting.

The effort includes both a community plan, and a civic spaces and places study.

The community plan will "be a kind of direction for us to move forward to over the next 10 years as a community," Mayor Ray DeGraw said.

Grandview last completed a comprehensive update of its community plan in 1997, "and it's served us well," he said.

The proposed document does not propose "anything that fundamentally changes how the community has thought of itself," said Greg Dale, principal with McBride Dale Clarion, the firm serving as the community plan consultant.

Instead, the community plan offers guidelines for "the community figuring out how to preserve and protect (its character) and still prosper and make progress as it moves forward," Dale said.

In the face of increasing pressure for redevelopment and infill development, the plan seeks to enable Grandview to preserve what makes it a special community, he said.

"One of the themes of the plan is how do we figure out putting Grandview Heights in the position of not being a victim of its own success," Dale said.

The draft plan gives recommendations and proposes initiatives to pursue goals relating to land use and character, transportation and connectivity, economic health, environment and resiliency, and civic spaces and places.

The report concludes with a set of "action steps" or themes that are "a framework for the city to address in the work plan and which should be started, if not completed, within the first three years following the adoption of the community plan," the document states.

Those actions steps include:

* Establishing a community plan implementation committee to oversee the yearly work plan review and ensure the city is staying on track.

* Strategically updating the city's zoning regulations.

* Establishing policies regarding economic development and incentives.

* Conducting a housing study to set policies and criteria for redevelopment and infill development.

* Implementing recommendations of the 2016 bikeway pilot and traffic advisory plan, and improving bicycle and pedestrian amenities and connections through the city.

"City Council and the planning commission need to take these recommendations and go through a prioritizing setting discussion about which are the most important" and should be addressed within the first year, Dale said.

The civic spaces and places plan offers a comprehensive review of and recommendations regarding city facilities, which includes the municipal building, police and fire stations, and parks and recreational facilities including the Grandview Center, said Kim Way, principal and urban planner with NBBJ, the firm that served as the plan's consultant.

The city's spaces and places are clustered within three areas, or civic "hubs," he said. The education hub includes the area around the Grandview Heights Public Library, Grandview Heights High School and Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, Way said.

The emerging hub is the area incorporating Stevenson Elementary School, the parks near the elementary school and the Grandview Yard development.

The plan's recommendations for the municipal hub include building a new municipal complex on the southeast corner of Grandview Avenue and Goodale Boulevard. The service department and parks maintenance operation now at the site will move later this year to a new structure under construction on McKinley Avenue.

The consensus is that the current municipal building at the top of the hill on Grandview Avenue is inadequate and outdated, and needs to be replaced, Way said.

A number of criteria were identified for a new municipal campus site, including that it be city-owned land, provide the space appropriate for Grandview's size, be pedestrian-friendly, have a central location, be functional and operational, and not cost too much, he said.

"The service department site is the ideal location" based on those criteria, Way said.

It's a site that ties into the adjacent recreational resources, including Wyman Woods and the Wallace Community Gardens, to create a "green gateway" to the city, he said.

The plan also recommends finding a new location for an expanded community center, said Megha Sinha, project manager and urban planner with NBBJ.

Potential locations for the center include the current municipal building site on Grandview Avenue, the site east of Wallace Gardens on Grandview Avenue and the Buck Park site on Goodale Boulevard, she said.

The plan also recommends the city begin discussions with Grandview Heights Schools and the Grandview Heights Public Library to explore the potential for partnerships to meet the community's needs for a community center, Sinha said.

The finalized community plan and spaces and places plan will be forwarded to council for adoption, Dale said.

The community plan will first be presented to the planning commission for its review, he said.

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