AIDB hosting CLEAR Plan meeting Thursday
by Shane Dunaway
TALLADEGA COUNTY — The East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission is partnering with local chambers of commerce and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to host a CLEAR Plan 2030 County Conversation meeting Thursday, Aug. 1, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the E.H. Gentry Cafetorium.

The meeting, free and open to the public, provides residents with a platform to voice their comments and concerns regarding the direction and future of Talladega County.

This marks the third meeting in the county and the second meeting in Talladega.

According to regional planner Ashley Myers, the planning commission began seeking public opinions from Talladega County residents via surveys provided at meetings Jan. 24 in Childersburg and April 25 in Talladega.

The 15-question survey asked residents to gauge general knowledge of services offered by allowing them to answer “most/all,” “some,” “none/few” or “don’t know.”

Several questions focused on a specific area. For example, a question under the “Health Communities” header contained six parts asking the participant whether residents in their community had access to affordable health care, accessible health care, a safe and secure place to live, a healthy environment, healthy food, and exercise and recreation promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The survey also asked participants to rank the importance of each topic from 1-8 in order of most important to least important. The topics included affordable housing, arts and culture, economic development, employment opportunities, healthy environment, improved infrastructure, transportation choices and quality education.

More than 600 residents of Talladega County have completed the survey, 31.6 percent less than the 1 percent goal sought by the planning commission. The residents selected quality education, employment opportunities and healthy environment as their top three priorities for the future of the county.

Survey results can be found online at www.clearplan2030.org/components by clicking the “Per County Results” link under the “Livability Survey Results” header. The results for Talladega County are listed on Page 9.

Myers said even though results have been compiled, the planning commission still accepts completed surveys from those who have yet to participate until November 2013. Residents can access the survey online at http://www.clearplan2030.org/materials by clicking by blue livability survey graphic.”

The CLEAR Plan 2030 website also provided in-depth analysis of the meetings via the “East Alabama Region” and “Per County Results” links under the “Preliminary First Round County Conversation Results” header. During the meetings, Talladega County residents lauded the small-town feel, natural beauty and climate as positives for the county and noted economic development, jobs, law enforcement in rural areas and roads as areas that need improvement.

In the meeting breakdown notes, Talladega County residents said they would like to see quality jobs, activities for all ages, thriving downtowns with more retail stores and a bridge within five years.

The planning commission implemented the CLEAR Plan program to coordinate the future for Talladega County and nine other counties within the region — Cherokee, Etowah, Calhoun, Cleburne, Clay, Randolph, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Chambers counties.

“The survey and meetings are an important and exciting opportunity for residents to be a part of planning their future,” Myers said. We’d love to have their input.”

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com.

© 2013