City maps future

CENTRAL POINT — Anticipating nearly as much growth in the next two decades as the last few have brought, city officials and community members recently finalized a road map of sorts for city growth.

A planning effort that kicked off in October 2006, the newly adopted strategic plan, dubbed "Central Point Forward: 2020," will guide city planners for at least another decade.

Created in more than a year's worth of meetings and surveys, the process yielded results similar to those found when creating the city's first strategic plan in 1998, community development director Tom Humphrey said.

"Everybody was very enthusiastic about the whole thing and the results were not entirely surprising," Humphrey said. "There were some affirmations on what we've been doing with the downtown and with growth "¦ and they want to focus on transportation and take another run at downtown revitalization."

Humphrey said having "added 5,300 citizens in nine years," the city needs the updated document.

"We're at a critical time of growth in the city. Our population is set to double in the next 40 years and we've got a lot going on," he noted. "The strategic plan is not a static document or process. It's something that must change to reflect changes taking place in community."

Early this year, private consultant Suzanne Simmons of the Medford based consulting group Centerpoint helped rally some 120 stakeholders, and later more than 300 citizens, to focus on various issues brought up in the process.

Issues covered by the involved citizens groups included economic development, parks and city services. In one unexpected suggestion, a significant number of participants said the city needs a gathering place.

"One thing that came out that was pretty neat is that they'd like to see locales around town where people can continue to assemble and interact," said Humphrey. "The old Center Café has become Whimsybug, so there's no place to go for coffee and find out what's going on in town. They indicated they'd like to have gathering places around town where people can mingle and enjoy the small-town atmosphere."

Lifelong resident Debbie Saxbury participated in the process and said she was impressed with the public's suggestions and the city's pledge to follow through.

"It was really exhilarating to see our community leaders so excited about community input," she said.

To view the "Central Point Forward" video, visit online.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

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