By Marianne Mueller


ROCKTON – Respectful dialogue flowed during a brainstorming session at the Rockton Municipal Center on Saturday, July 18.

Residents, Trustees, Village President, Dale Adams, Planning Commission chair, Todd Byxbe, community leaders and area volunteers joined in a lively brainstorming session. The targeted subject of the meeting was to update the Village of Rockton’s comprehensive plan.

Village Planning and Development Administrator, Tricia Diduch led the discussion.

“A comprehensive plan is a 40 or 50 year concept. Each state sets its own rules. Unlike a municipal code it is more of a guiding policy” said Diduch. “When it comes to comprehensive plans it is good to review the plan again in three to five years,” added Diduch.

Rockton last implemented a new Comprehensive Plan in 2001. The plan was done by Vandewalle and Associates.

Identifying issues, stating goals of the plan, collecting data, preparing and updating the plan, creating an implementation plan, and evaluating alternatives will be incorporated into eight steps of action items.

“What makes an ideal community?  Diduch asked. Answers revealed that people would like to see a balance with a mixture of everything. “Events in the park instill a sense of community and shows that
Rockton is an active community, “said Rockton Village Trustee Jodi May.

By adding more community events it is expected that a positive momentum will keep moving the community forward.

More community involvement, especially in the volunteer sector is the wish of a meeting attendee.

Proximity to larger places, a small town feel, the quality of roads, and the importance of water quality were listed as part of what makes up an ideal community.

“Rockton needs to maintain and efficient water system and facilities, especially if looking at expanding a commercial base, “said Tom Polaski.

“It is important that the people who are in charge of growth make sure that it is controlled,” said Gary Kovanda.

Tricia Diduch touched on the concept of urban sprawl.

It was noted that one of the first things that is looked at in Rockton is the school system. This is in relationship to housing values and economics in how the town supports itself.

When we first moved here we supported the school system by passing a referendum, said Rockton Township Supervisor, “Tom Jencius. The focus was on planning for the future by using a smart planning method.”

A suggestion was made that more commercial businesses be added to better balance the taxing bodies. A balance of income, sources, residential, retail and more employers would have to be included.

Rockton is seen as a beautiful and convenient location.

One area senior citizen praised the way Rockton is adaptive to residents, and how it provides amenities for all age groups.

A concern about road quality was raised, especially on certain streets. Ways to make traveling safer need to be looked into in the future; beyond just those in vehicles.

“It is required to have at least one sidewalk on one side of the street,” Diduch shared.

The importance of tying everything together must connect in a larger cohesive puzzle to create a well put together community.

The impact of growth on public defenders such as the Rockton Police and Fire was briefly addressed.

In the second phase of the meeting Diduch asked how effective the words, “History, Heritage and Pride” relate to the Village of Rockton. Adjectives to describe the village included: Principal values-quality of life, historical, quaint, community, secure through connectedness, strong families, and transparency, friendly and safe. Rockton is a community where education is greatly valued.

The importance of getting information out in a timely fashion was stressed.

“I never know what is going on and I am not the only one. There are many others who are unaware as well,” said Verna Schubert. Schubert used the present meeting as an example.

“We should have had a postcard, or a notification about this meeting. We need more different ways to communicate that kind of covers everyone,” she said.

Diduch responded, “This meeting is just a small component of many. The village is also doing an online survey. A postcard will go out in the next couple of weeks regarding this survey. The survey should take a maximum of five minutes to complete and should give a better representation on the visioning of what the community feels. “

A determination was made that more communication among different agencies is needed.

Maintenence of public infrastructure is considered to be a necessity in the village.

Rejuvenating downtown Rockton was also found to hold a great importance.

This was the first of two public meetings in the development of a new comprehensive plan.

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