Jenks officials seek citizen input on future

Jenks officials seek citizen input on future

The City of Jenks has taken a seat at the table among other cities that are looking toward their futures.

The Jenks city council recently approved the hiring of Houseal Lavigne Associates LLC, a professional consulting firm that specializes in all areas of community planning, urban design and economic development.

The partnership between Jenks and Houseal Lavigne Associates was the first step in setting Jenks on the path for a multi-year transformation.

“Horizon Jenks”, a comprehensive plan, was recently set in motion. It will determine what type of community Jenks will be in 20 to 30 years.

The difference between this comprehensive plan and those previous is who will be making the decisions.

“We want our citizens to give us their feedback and input on what they want out of their city in the coming years,” Jenks City Manager Chris Shrout said. “The plans that were put together in the past did not have that. I am excited about hearing from our citizens. We will be getting input from residents, city staff and elected officials throughout this entire process.”

There are several ways that the citizens of Jenks can give their input.

They can go to the “Horizon Jenks” website to fill out online surveys, questionnaires and create a map of Jenks, as they would like to see it, using an interactive mapping software called map.social.

The link to the Horizon Jenks comprehensive plan is http://www.hlplanning.com/portals/jenks/.

Citizens can also attend the comprehensive plan community workshops and give their input to city officials.

The next community workshop is Aug. 1. at the Oklahoma Aquarium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“Everyone is invited,” Shrout said. “We want everyone to be there and we want their input. We want to address the issues our city needs improved. A lot of cities are moving to this type of plan. I really believe it will be beneficial for us. We decided to go with Houseal and Lavigne because of the experience and number of plans they have put together. We had numerous companies that wanted the job and interviewed four total.”

A comprehensive plan for the City of Jenks is a blueprint for the future, a community vision and a guide to the decision making for the next two-to-three decades.

Parts of the comprehensive plan include:

-Land use and development

-Commercial areas

-Transportation and mobility

-Parks, opens space and environmental features

-Agricultural and cultural facilities

-Housing and neighborhoods

-Economic development framework

-Community facilities and utilities

-Implementation strategy

The comprehensive plan will take place for the next 10 months and after all the data is collected and put together, a final plan will be presented to the planning commission and adopted by the city council.

Previous and ongoing plans will be part of the process and in some cases, incorporated into the comprehensive plan if the goals and vision are consistent.

Initial phases have started with the anticipated completion of the plan expected to come in the summer of 2020.

Jenks City Planner Jim Beach, who has been in that position since October of 2017, said the previous comprehensive plan was created more than 20 years ago and has undergone numerous revisions with all the planning done in house.

“It was more of a land use plan, not truly comprehensive,” he said. “One of our goals with this plan will be to produce greater economic sustainability and stability with more sales tax. We want to imagine what Jenks wants to become. This plan should represent thoughts and inputs of a large portion of the citizens in Jenks.”

Beach broke down the plan in a three-question process:

-“Where are we now?”

-“Where do we want to go?”

-“How do we get there?”

“It is essential that we get the citizens’ input,” Beach said. “It’s the only way to be successful with this. The implementation of the plan will take multiple years. Our goal is to improve Jenks. We will take the successful strategies and processes from some of the other cities have used and use those to make Jenks better.”

Beach mentioned several areas in specific that the city will look to make improvements.

“Downtown Jenks and the area near Main Street and Highway 75,” he said. “We want to create an interconnectivity between the (Oklahoma) Aquarium, downtown and that area by Main Street and Highway 75. We are also going to look into developing some of those arterial road intersections in the southern areas of Jenks.”

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: As soon as the City of Jenks announces the time and location for the Aug. 1 Horizon Jenks comprehensive plan community workshop, we will inform the Jenks citizens through our social media accounts and website at www.jenkstribune.com.

Kyle Salomon

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