There's a lot to love about Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — Receiving a "vision statement" might cause people's eyes to glaze over and their minds to fear dry text, but "Jacksonville 2028" may change those reactions when it arrives in community mailboxes late this week.

Stories and narratives, art work and quotes from Jacksonville Elementary students and professional layout are intended to lure more citizens into the process that will revise the town's comprehensive plan — a document that guides growth — in the coming years. A 60-member citizens advisory committee created the 20-page document over the past year.

"It was a positive process," said John Dodero, a city councilman who worked with the committee. "We asked people, 'What do you like about Jacksonville?' "

Oregon land-use planning laws require cities to periodically rework their comprehensive plans. Jacksonville's last revisions were completed in 2002.

"The overhaul is not a quick thing," said City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen. "The vision statements are really what we use for the beginning of the overhaul. This is very much a broad brush."

A revised comprehensive plan will probably be released in 2012, with a final version adopted in 2015, Wyntergreen said.

A student-drawn cover for the vision statement leads to a one-page introduction that invites readers to be transported to 2028 where they encounter stories with characters and dialogue or description, art and statements from students placed vertically on page edges in which they describe the town they want in 21 years.

Characters in some of the stories represent various demographic groups that live in or visit Jacksonville. One story portrays the visit of a Dutch technology expert and his family to the town in 2028. Another has a conversation between two students about the town's history and cultural values. All entries incorporate values from six areas the subcommittees explored.

Dodero and others got an enthusiastic response from teachers to requests for student ideas. "A month later there was this stack of gold," said Dodero.

Committee members Jeanena White Wilson and Christina Duane went through the student work to prepare it for the document. Duane and her husband, Jym, of Purpose Media volunteered their time to layout the booklet.

Printing costs of $3,500 were paid by the city. In all, 2,700 copies will be mailed to townsfolk and those who live within one mile of the urban growth boundary. The mailing is a prelude to a town hall meeting on the vision at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in Jacksonville Elementary.

"I hope to have 200 to 300 people," said Dodero. "We can then take a larger sample of people in Jacksonville."

Comments from the meeting and written testimony will be used to refine the statement before another draft is put out to the community, said Wyntergreen. The planning commission will then review a final document and adopt it, possibly as soon as spring 2008.

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