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Possible plan for Rumford's future
RUMFORD -- What will Rumford look like in 10 years?
The answer is not clear, but the path to get there could well be in the town's comprehensive plan, to be voted on by citizens in June.
On March 5, members of the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee presented to selectmen what they have been working on over the past 18 months.
Kevin Saisi, chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, said, "If people approve this, then this is what people would like to see happen."
He noted that the comprehensive plan is also "essential in the grant writing process" which helps shape the town's future.
John Maloney, facilitator for Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG), said the plan addresses key issues in the community, such as population change, the economy, etc.
The development of the plan is intended to identify priority issues, develop a vision for Rumford. "This is a plan for what citizens see for the future of Rumford."
That sets the stage for the rest of the plan, which provides goals and suggestions for achieving over the next decade or two.
"This information is also a snap shot of where we are and where we've been," noted Maloney.
Prior to a vote on the plan, he said there will be a public hearing, with copies of the preliminary available 30 days prior.
Components of the plan include the vision, background, action strategies, a future land use plan for development and non-development (it is not a zoning ordinance), a capital investment plan, and a regional coordination plan (use of river, shared services, etc.).
This also contains a plan for implementation, with the Planning Board taking a leading role, which includes periodical updates to the Board of Selectmen as well as a yearly report. Saisi said the Planning Board was receptive to taking this role, to make sure that this comprehensive doesn't sit on the shelf.
"I hope that by 2022, we'll see some significant improvement to our community. The plan is important and I hope we work diligently to achieve some of the goals in it. There should be something on each agenda (selectmen's) on how to move forward,"said Saisi.
At least two of the four board members present voiced support for discussion at the every board meeting regarding the comprehensive plan.
Selectman Jeff Sterling, noting that the plan is 167 pages long, asked if there's "a Reader's Digest" version of this for citizens who don't wish to read off of this.
Saisi said they will be making a video about the comprehensive plan, to be shown on the local access channel to help people to understand the plan. The plan will also be on the town's website.
Maloney said that maybe they could also develop a smaller version, maybe 10 pages or so, with tables and strategies.
One component of the action plan involved joining forces with Mexico to enhance recreation in the area, something that Selectman Jolene Lovejoy and Board Chairman Greg Buccina voiced support for.
"Recreation is a big part of promoting your community (to prospective businesses coming to town)," noted Buccina.
Regarding the recommendations, Buccina expressed concern about it being too specific over the next 10 years. While some of the items are things they're already doing, the direction could change if something should happen economically.
Maloney responded, "In the past, some plans have been wishy washy, not giving people enough direction. Everything requires some kind of specific action."
"Which is why they end up on a shelf," deduced Buccina.
Saisi worked on the planning committee on Rumford's last comprehenive plan, developed in 1997. Maloney was a facilitator on that one as well.