Published Thursday, January 31, 2013
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The first of three public meetings on the Three Rivers Regional Plan was held Tuesday at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.
Representatives from the 10 counties in the region participated in mini “roundtable” sessions to talk about the issues and opportunities in the region.
The roundtables concentrated on GIS and Land Use, Economic Development, Transportation and Intergovernmental Coordination, Natural and Cultural Resources, and Housing and Community Facilities and Services.
Coweta is one of the 10 counties in the Three Rivers Regional Commission area. The others are Carroll, Heard, Meriwether, Pike, Upson, Spalding, Lamar, Troup and Butts.
The regional plan is intended to provide the region with a tool to manage and guide the future growth and development of the region through 2033.
“It’s kind of a blueprint” that will be used to develop a vision, said Jeannie Brantley, planning director for Three Rivers. The regional commission will use that vision to implement programs and do projects.
“There are a lot of needs and very limited funding,” Brantley said.
The idea is for the plan to help identify the most important issues and concerns for the local governments. Then, Three Rivers can work to identify funding resources to try and address those issues and concerns, Brantley said.
“We’re making sure we meet their needs,” she said.
The public involvement portion, known as the “regional agenda,” is the third facet of the plan, and the most important. The first two, which have already been completed, are the regional assessment and stakeholder involvement program.
“If there is something you want to see addressed, this is your opportunity to let us know and include it in the plan,” said Planner Aronda Smith during the opening presentation.
The other two meetings will be held in Franklin and Griffin; they haven’t been scheduled.
Three Rivers sent out invitations to all the local governments, as well as their chambers of commerce and development offices, but members of the public are also welcome to participate, said Brantley.
A steering committee will be meeting monthly and will review all the input from the regional agenda meetings.
Three Rivers staff are also working on a questionnaire that will be put on the regional commission’s website, www.threeriversrc.com.
Hopes are to get more input from “the kind of people who don’t normally come to these kinds of meetings,” said Planner Paul Jarrell.