By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township Trustees approved the findings of the Prairie Township Strategic Plan at a recent meeting.
The plan cost $20,000 to conduct.
“The plan is an umbrella document that gives a brief history of the township, examines the location we are in and identifies strategies to improve the community,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator.
The three strategies examined in the plan were identity, investment and community.
The identity looked at ways the township could project a clear and positive identity. A few ways to do this included utilizing the new West Broad Street corridor that has been enhanced thanks to the streetscape project. The plan also suggested the township enhance the area between Hilliard Rome Road and the Prairie Township Community Center.
“To improve identity, the strategic plan also says we have to continue to grow the community center and do more than just opening it,” Hatmaker said.
The plan suggests this could be done by creating more events, community-related meetings and having a wide range of programming.
“The goal is to raise the profile of Prairie Township,” Hatmaker said.
Finally, in order to create a positive identity for the township, the plan suggests the township continue to create an interactive website.
The second strategy in the plan related to investment.
“This is a matter of investing in the township, as well as increasing the amount of private investments in the community,” Hatmaker said. “This ranges from the township investing in infrastructure to offering incentives from private investment.”
A few suggestions include working with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County Commissioners to open a substation in the township, updating zoning and development requirements in the West Broad Street corridor to ensure private investments compliment public improvements, pursuing development solution that address blighted properties, provide low interest loans and grants for businesses to improve their facades, and providing low interest loans and grants for home improvements.
Finally, the plan looked at the sense of community in the township and offered solutions on how to improve this.
A few suggestions here included establishing a community athletic and activities programming, helping seniors live in their homes longer, improving community spaces where people can congregate and as well as making the community more walkable and bike friendly.
“A few suggestions include extending walking trails, adding additional bike lanes and sidewalks and potentially building a plaza at a shopping center where people can congregate,” Hatmaker said.
Hatmaker said this strategy is a first step and gives the township a general direction of where they need to go.
“We already have several projects in the development phases that apply to some of these suggestions,” Hatmaker said. “However, we continue to think of new ways to improve the area. This plan is a great start in showing us where we hope to be in the future.”
To learn more about the Prairie Township Strategic Plan, visit www.prairietownship.org.