The Free Press
— The plan to make a better plan in North Mankato is a great plan.
The North Mankato City Council last week agreed to proceed with hiring a consultant to help do a comprehensive proposal as well as to take steps to modify an agreement with the federal government so that federal dollars can be used for planning.
Not having such a comprehensive plan in the past has caused difficulty in North Mankato when decisions needed to be made on how to proceed with specific projects, such as deciding which businesses should get help with revitalization or whether zoning requirements are met for proposed developments, such as the Marigold apartments project.
City bodies and leaders have had their hearts in the right places, trying to make North Mankato as vital as possible. But doing so has been piecemeal with voices clashing about what’s best for the city and no hard-and-fast guidelines to follow.
A comprehensive plan should set that vision and those guidelines down on paper (and on a website) so it’s a usable, accessible document that leaders of today and tomorrow can follow with consistency.
Another important part of keeping the community viable is focusing on more than just businesses and new development. Existing housing needs to be maintained to make sure the community retains its status as a charming, comfortable place to live. The council’s action to offer matching grants to middle- and low-income home owners so they can keep up their homes matches that goal of planning for the future.
North Mankato has much to offer. With more attention paid to planning and maintaining its strengths, the city should be in a win-win situation in the future.