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Friday, May 6, 2016

Comp plan details extreme sports site, community/rec center, indoor sports field, downtown park, dog park

Friday, January 4, 2013

When the new Comprehensive Plan for the City of Storm Lake debuts at a Jan. 9 public forum, it will include concepts designed to spur growth and recreation.

"We're getting into the esoteric as well as the practical," says City Manager Jim Patrick.

The plan will address the coming 20 years, with expectations that it will be updated every five years. The City is looking for public input before it finalizes the plan next spring.

Included in the 11-chapter document are mapped possibilities for a new indoor sports field, possibly even a dome, in an expansion of the Field of Dreams complex.

A Community Center is a prime focus of the plan. "This is a very strong suggestion, it would be a great thing to have," Patrick said. "The plan does not set out an exact location. Renovating old South School remains a possibility, but so would building something new that would be more useable."

The comp plan foresees a "community/arts/cultural/recreation" multi-use center.

Several new parks are also suggested, including one to locate in the downtown area. A possible site could be the area of the current Sara Lee/Hillshire Brands feed mill, as the company is considering multiple possible locations to build a new mill, Patrick said. The proposal calls for a ring of townhouse/condo developments to face the park.

An "East City Square" with parkland is proposed for the east part of town, and a new Seneca Park in the 10th-13th street areas.

The City has been considering possible uses for an old dredging spoil site, and the comp plan proposal suggests an extreme sports park for the site - where ATVs, motocross motorcycles, BMX bikes, snowmobiles and cross-country skis could use trails.

An off-leash dog park is proposed for the areas behind the Storm Lake cemetery.

The comp plan proposes cross-town recreation trails to add to existing trails and a scheduled construction project adding a trail along North Lake Avenue.

The plan also details continued efforts to develop new housing, which has been identified as a pressing need in recent years, as population growth of about 10 percent a year has outstripped the available housing.

The proposed comp plan anticipates growth and development to the north and west edges of the City, with some potential for expansion to the south, Patrick says. A major focus would be to develop the Highway 7 corridor with natural resource areas, office space and retail stores. The King's Pointe area is a key focus, where commerical development has yet to live up to expectations from the Project AWAYSIS planning seven years ago. The City is especially interested in bringing in restaurants and new stores to the area, Patrick said.

The plan's vision includes changes to the traffic patterns and handling systems to slow vehicles down as they pass through Storm Lake, and increase options for pedestrians, runners and bikers. Capital improvement plans and continued replacement of aging infastructure are also addressed.

"This document is a lot of good reading - basically it serves as a set of suggestions for where the City's efforts should be focused in the years to come," he added. "The idea is that we need to pull the whole community together a little more, os that we can have everyone working side by side in the same direction. It's going to take not just government, but all of us."

The January 9 session at King's Pointe is open to the public, and begins at 5:30 p.m.

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