Morgan County Planner Bill Cobabe wants to get county residents talking, talking about mobility, open space, agriculture, industry, residential development, commerce and community in the county for the next five years.
Consider the following questions:
If you didn’t have a car in Morgan County, how would you like to get around? What are special places in Morgan I would hate to lose? What defines Morgan’s character? What are the important historic or cultural areas in the county? What agricultural land and open space should be preserved? What cultural aspects of agriculture are important to preserve? What industrial activities could use less land and still drive the county’s economy? What sort of industries would preserve the cultural values of the county while still driving economic growth? How could the county diversify the rural homestead? What sort of development would you like to see to stabilize a county identity? Should culture be preserved within future development? Is commercial development currently reflecting the culture of the county? Would you like to see a niche market of local artisans? Is there a way to combine rural small-town feel with a big box lifestyle? Is a local city center appealing to you? How can Morgan grow without changing?
Cobabe and a team of urban ecology University of Utah students are listening now to answers to the above questions through a project called Listening to Morgan. Cobabe is using this project to update the county’s general plan, something called for every five years. The general plan is a document that guides development in the community that is undoubtedly growing.
Although necessary, updating a general plan takes money that is all too often scarce in tight government coffers. When Cobabe was denied grant money for the effort, he reached out to the university, which also happened to be his alma mater.
And the five university students are using it as an undergraduate capstone class project wrapping up at the end of the year, when they will hand the website over to Morgan County.
The university students were on hand last week during a public open house designed to collect public input on how they want the county to look in the next five years. Participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and submit them anonymously in Mason jars scattered around the main lobby of the county building.
But Cobabe stresses that answers to the above questions, posed as food for thought, are still being collected online at http://www.listeningtomorgan.com. Comment is also being taken at firstname.lastname@example.org and 801-845-4015.
“Let us know why you love Morgan County, or share with us what you would like to see in the future,” reads the website. “Our goal is to encourage dialogue, community participation, and engagement in shaping the future of Morgan County. The Listening to Morgan County project hopes to become a platform where all voices can be heard and all community members can feel welcome. The future of the county is in your hands, and Listening to Morgan can bridge the gap between your community needs and policies.”