Portland community workshop set for June 8

PORTLAND – A community interactive workshop will be held in Portland to gather public input on the town’s new comprehensive plan.

The workshop has been scheduled for June 8 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Brocton Central School Auditorium. All Portland residents are encouraged to attend and express their ideas about their community’s vision, goals and strategies for the future of Portland.

The last comprehensive plan was competed in 1972. Understanding the need to identify and address the current challenges facing the community, provide a vision for the community’s future; manage growth and development in a manner that preserves the town’s rural character; and support the wishes of today’s residents, the town established a local Steering Committee in 2012 to create a new comprehensive plan.

“With the economic and demographic challenges communities face today, it’s critical that we engage in planning for our community’s future. We can’t, with any certainty, expect a better future for our town if we don’t evaluate what needs to be improved on and create an action plan to help us do that. I think it is very important that people come out and help us with this process by participating in the upcoming workshop,” said Dan Schrantz, Portland town supervisor and Steering Committee member.

To assist in the development of the new comprehensive plan, the town engaged Small Town Planning Services of Westfield.

“Small communities need help coping with the challenges brought on by change. Some of that change is internal and other change is caused by larger regional or national trends outside of their control,” said consultant Don McCord of Small Town Planning Services.

After many hours of research a present-day community profile was created. Focus group workshops and a communitywide survey provided the basis for the formation of a community vision and the goals and strategies needed to attain that vision. Proposed strategies focus on economic development, government services, infrastructure, people and community, natural resources, waterfront and agriculture.

The workshop will consist of a brief presentation about the process, and the basis for Portland’s draft vision, with opportunities for questions and answers. Participants will then be asked to take part in exercises designed to help them contribute their thoughts regarding the community’s goals and strategies, and offered a chance to make additional suggestions. Light refreshments will be served.