Butler County communities crafting strategic plans, seeking residents’ input

Liberty Twp. is embarking on a strategic plan update and are hoping for a lot of feedback on many topics, including a possible Millikin Road interchange over Interstate 75.

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Liberty Twp. is embarking on a strategic plan update and are hoping for a lot of feedback on many topics, including a possible Millikin Road interchange over Interstate 75.

Liberty Twp. is the latest Butler County community taking the pulse of residents as it updates strategic plans for the future.

Liberty is launching its strategic plan update with a workshop today from 6 to 8 p.m. to get residents’ insights as they start this process. West Chester Twp. hired a national firm earlier this year to mail out surveys to a sampling of residents as part of its 2050 Vision Plan. Hamilton began its plan re-write a year-and-a-half ago and has begun implementing it.

All of the communities have employed a variety of methods to get community input, including the surveys and information seeking meetings to steering committees and websites.

Liberty Twp. Administrator Kristen Bitonte said tonight’s event will be the first of three forums designed to get as much community input as possible. She said the meeting will be informal, with stations set up so people can give their input on a whole host of topics.

RELATED: Major interchange project tops Liberty Twp. priorities for 2019

“The exercises will include several stations that the residents can interact with to provide their feedback about their favorite aspects of the township, the challenges that we face, and a series of focused questions about their likes and dislikes,” she said. “The format is designed to be informal, quick and easy to encourage participation. This will be a great opportunity for the residents of the township to shape their community.”

The trustees hired American Structurepoint, Inc. for $85,000 earlier this year to steer the strategic plan process. The community engagement meetings are just a fraction of the entire project that includes a comprehensive look at the township today and plans for the future.

Trustee Board President Steve Schramm said he was involved in the last strategic plan update and the community response was a little weak, he would like to “try and extend the reach, triple, quadruple, multiply times 10 the amount of feedback.”

Schramm said officials would like their residents to have input on multiple topics.

MORE: What Liberty Twp. is considering to make its busiest areas safer for pedestrians

“They will reach out to them on kind of everything,” Schramm said. “On how they see development going forward, whether that business residential mix is just a pipe dream of mine or whether that’s reflected by the total community. How they see our roads, how they see our walkability, how they see our Millikin Road vision, our Liberty vision, hopefully the questions will allow us to kind of reach into everybody’s minds on all of the things we look forward to in the way of development.”

West Chester has already been voted as the top place to live in Ohio and one of the best in the nation for many years, according to Money Magazine. Officials want to know how they can make it even better.

The township commissioned a survey from the National Research Center for $15,600 to kick off its Vision Plan. The company mailed surveys to 1,500 randomly selected residents.

Trustee Board President Mark Welch said what comes next is crucial to the project, as officials try to plan what the township needs to look like in 30 years. He said the group that will steer this project needs to truly be balanced, with representation from a cross section of the township.

“One of the things I’m always concerned about is if we weight a committee with too many people of the same type, whether it’s business people or just residents, they can say ‘hey I took a snapshot, this was perfect when I moved in five years ago and this is perfect now and I don’t want any changes’,” he said. “We need to have the balance.”

Explore RELATED: Money magazine names West Chester top place to live in Ohio

Hamilton unveiled its strategic plan early this year, a broad-ranging plan that touches on many subjects, from recreation on the Great Miami River to marketing Hamilton’s school systems and improving the look of the Ohio 4 corridor.

More than 100 non-city committee members worked on the plan and they gathered about 4,200 pieces of citizen input through meetings, open houses, online surveys, and Facebook polls, according to Liz Hayden, Hamilton’s planning director

The Liberty Twp. workshop will be held today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakota Family YMCA, 6703 Yankee Road.

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