The theme of the Gainesville Global Plan Update might come as a surprise. Hint: It’s not just about new stuff

As the compensation plan is referenced in most rezoning issues that are submitted to municipal authorities, surveys and open houses are ways to “speak up so you have a voice now so your voice is heard more late,” Couvillon said.

Rob Fowler, CEO and partner of Turner, the Wood and Smith insurance agency, can relate to the city’s efforts. The Great Hall Chamber of Commerce rolled out its Vision 2030 plan in 2005-2006 when he was president. It was a similar exercise of looking at the future and possible ways to achieve the goals.

“We received input from approximately 1,300 citizens throughout Hall County with 12 citizens’ meetings throughout Hall,” he said. “At this time, and perhaps still is, the largest planning event with this number of Gainesville-Hall County citizens participating.”

He said he hopes residents’ input into the Gainesville plan will be great, that “people will take the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.”

For her part, Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the chamber, said she hopes Gainesville “could identify the big issues that you can do something about.”

“One of my biggest is transportation,” she said.

Green Street and Dawsonville Highway are major traffic issues, but there’s also the lingering question of how to move traffic east-west through Gainesville, perhaps as part of a “northern promenade,” a said Dunlap.

City officials are still several steps away from completing the compensation plan.

From April to June, they plan to develop a final document based on public comments.

“We are finalizing exact dates for the City Council public hearing later in the spring and the final passage in June,” Tate said.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs requires every city and county in the state to create and update a comprehensive plan every 5 to 10 years, depending on the city.

Frank Norton Jr. of the Norton Agency said he believes the city is at a major moment in its history, so the process ahead is crucial.

“The decisions that will be made by elected officials over the next five years will shape our community for the next 50 years,” he said.

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