Officials with the City of Athens may now have a better grasp of how the upcoming new master plan will be put together.

Representatives of consultant firm Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative LLC spoke at length Wednesday on how they intend to put together the new Athens comprehensive plan over the next year. Members of the City Council and Planning Commission were on hand to learn more about the process ahead of tonight's community kickoff meeting for the master plan.

Founding Principal Brian Wright of the consultant firm said a comprehensive plan is a long-range policy document that looks at all elements of the city.

“It is what establishes the vision for the future of a city,” he said. “It has guidance for growth, development and conservation. It shows where you want to go and how you are going to get there.”

He said public opinion will be sought as part of the process.

“Citizen participation is essential,” City of Athens Planner Lakeisha Johnson said. “It's not just an option; it's a necessity. These are the individuals who live, work, go to school or provide services in this community.”

Johnson said meetings like these give residents a chance to express their views, thoughts and opinions on what they want to see in the city.

The kickoff, dubbed “Athens 2040: Pathways to Excellence,” will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at City Hall in the Council chambers at 200 W. Hobbs St. Social distancing guidelines will be maintained.

Interested parties can also visit Athens2040.com to register to livestream the meeting.

“We want you to share your ideas,” she said. “We are here to listen.”

Johnson said an updated master plan is essential and one of the major components that drives a variety of things like population growth, infrastructure and historical preservation.

“The public will have several opportunities to get engaged and participate in the process, starting with the community kickoff event,” the planning department said in a release.

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