Commission tries to help focus vision of city

Plans should consider future residents’ needs

Leader Photo by Tim Ryan The Shawano Plan Commission takes part in a table-top visioning exercise aimed at setting long-range development goals for the city Wednesday. The study being compiled by the East Central Regional Planning Commission is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

What should Shawano look like 20 years from now?

The Shawano Plan Commission on Wednesday took part in a visioning exercise to provide its input on that question as part of a long-range planning study being conducted by the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

The table-top exercise gave commissioners a chance to identify areas, and even particular properties in the city that are either in need of some improvement or that should be designated as benefits to the community that should be maintained.

It also gave officials an opportunity to single out areas for long-requested amenities such as a dog park; something that has come before the city previously, but has been unable to find a location acceptable to its would-be neighbors.

Mayor Jeanne Cronce said the exercise was intended to brainstorm what the city should be doing for future generations.

“What are we doing for them?” she said. “That’s what we have to think about, the people that will be here after we’re long gone.”

City Administrator Brian Knapp said officials have a significant long-term responsibility in spite of a relatively short time in office.

“The reality is that we’re stewards,” he said. “It’s a very short time in the scheme of things. It’s a very short time that we have this responsibility and yet we’re supposed to be thinking not just about the people who are here today, but, like the mayor said, those who are coming in the future. What are we going to deed them?”

Shawano residents and visitors to the city had an opportunity to take the same visioning exercise and give their input last month at the Shawano Summerfest.

Knapp said the traffic of visitors during the roughly 2 1/2-hour session was fairly constant and input was positive, with more than 50 people participating.

Several city committees and commissions have since taken the same exercises.

The East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission will compile and organize the feedback before presenting a final report to the city.

Knapp said the feedback will help prioritize infrastructure improvements, building renovation and redevelopment opportunities, as well as address concerns about traffic safety and accessibility.

A final report is expected by the end of the summer.