Results of comprehensive plan available
By LESLIE LAFOY
The Peabody Comprehensive Plan presentation by Kansas State University Community Planning graduate students May 7 was fairly well attended by Peabody citizens. Students did a PowerPoint show of the main points of the completed plan.
They covered such areas as historical population and income trends, housing conditions, soil composition and appropriate land usage, community strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and community attitudes and priorities.
The following are the general conclusions presented:
— Peabody's population has remained relatively constant since its founding in the 1870s. It is not a "dying community."
— The most important qualities to our residents are our historic downtown, our small town feeling, and our community safety and friendliness.
— Peabody is a "full-service" community — - meaning we have essential services such as schools and medical services as well as retail and service businesses that make it needless to leave town for life's basic necessities — something a great many other communities don't have and for which they are envious.
The comprehensive plan includes several recommendations for moving Peabody forward, including:
— Focus on the expansion of the existing businesses in town (rather the development of the industrial park area) through e-commerce, regional exporting, and product diversification.
— Protect and promote the historic downtown area through the support and expansion of Peabody's "signature" events — tourism.
— Protect and improve community housing — particularly rentals and preferably in the second stories of the downtown district.
— Organize and promote a "Peabody Pride" and a "Shop Peabody" campaign to combat general and prevalent negative attitudes regarding the community's future. (The students' instructor, Dr. John Keller was most adamant the negative talk about Peabody stop!)
— Also, it was strongly suggested that Peabody begin the serious and systematic lobbying of both state and federal legislators when issues that might affect the community are before legislative bodies. Peabody leaders were urged to keep the city's name before lawmakers whenever possible.
A limited number of copies of the comprehensive plan are available at the city building. Peabody city council plans to discuss the findings and recommendations at its May 27 meeting.