Planning Commission Seeks Resident Input To Weigh In On Future County Growth

 

By Tamas Mondovics

Opening with the statement, “You spoke. We listened,” the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission and the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization for Transportation MPO launched the second round of its initiative, dubbed Imagine Hillsborough 2040.

Through an online interactive survey conducted from August 16, 2013 through November 11, 2013, Hillsborough County residents got a chance to use their imagination and weigh in on long-range strategies for growth, development and transportation affecting their communities. 

“Part one of this planning process has been successful and we are hoping to get the same or better results before the deadline of the second phase, which is due to end Monday, September 1,“ said MPO Public Engagement Specialist, Lynn Merenda.

With the first part of the effort now complete, it is time for residents to share their thoughts on how to make the vision a reality.

The vision is said to guide the Long Range Transportation Plan and Comprehensive Plans for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County.

The effort began with a working group made up of citizens, staff and private sector representatives highlighting issues and formulating three distinctly different growth strategies such as Suburban Dream, Bustling Metro and New Corporate Centers to evaluate their benefits, costs and impacts.

“Participants could see how each growth strategy performs in terms of their priorities, and were asked to rate each strategy on a scale of one to five stars, with one star meaning ‘least appealing’ and five meaning ‘most appealing’,” Merenda said.

While promoting participation, Imagine 2040 put things in perspective by focusing on the growth expected for the area including the anticipated 600,000 new residents and about 400,000 new jobs by 2040.

Under its Part 2 segment, Imagine 2040 lists a dozen future road widening projects for the Brandon West area at an estimated $302 million, including Bloomingdale Ave. from Hwy. 301 to Bell Shoals Rd.

“Not all projects are listed on the Imagine 2040 Major Projects list page, but can be found under the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program Priorities,” Alden said. 

Residents who fill out a survey between now and Monday, August 25 also receive a free ticket to the home show at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

To fill out the survey, visit www.planhillsborough.org/imagine2040.