The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 13, 2013

North Mankato first step to the future

A comprehensive plan can be more than just a mapping of zoning regulations; it can help distinguish the city for the future


A well-crafted comprehensive plan can articulate the city’s vision for the future and help it make decisions such as investments and development. The most important element of any strategy is not outlining all it can do but staying laser focused and purposeful to its singular aims.

But it also must reflect the city’s culture and that means its residents must be involved from the beginning. Its culture will influence not only the design but the implementation going forward. It can affect the success or failure of a community even to the point of how it feels about itself.

City Administrator John Harrenstein rightly pointed out the city could do a better job of engaging with residents. But residents also should not be passive. Residents should get involved often throughout the process to ensure the most complete outcome is achieved.

The city has the opportunity to distinguish itself from other cities and grow in that distinction. Whether it wants to be a quaint hometown, a thriving urban center, an industrial center of commerce will depend on its first steps in mapping out its future.

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