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Maryville Looks to Citizens for Land Use Ideas.

Instead of city managers, urban planners and engineers determining where parks, roads, and schools will be located in Maryville, Tenn., the city council is leaving it up to the citizens.

The planning effort, Maryville 2020 Vision, looks to residents for land use ideas for new zoning districts, transportation improvements, pedestrian walkways and other issues important to citizens.

"The Maryville city council has taken a bold step in creating a new grassroots planning effort that is atypical of cities its size in the state," said Kyle Ezell, Maryville community planner. "For a small city of just more than 21,000 people, this approach has brought citizens together for the common good of the community and brought fresh ideas to the planning process."

The council split the city into nine different planning areas to accommodate each neighborhood's needs. Each group developed a plan, three of which have been adopted to date, and they will be combined to create one comprehensive plan. The process will be complete by the year 2000.

Feedback on the process from participants has been positive.

The comments are very positive and supportive, which is a refreshing feeling for the city staff," Ezell said. "All participants thus far are glad to participate in the process, and they are appreciative of the city council's effort to get government to come to them."

"Before Maryville 2020 Vision," he added, "there was a lack of cohesiveness, and tempers would flair after news of any unanticipated event during planning commission and city council meetings. The 2020 Vision process now gives citizens the chance to have their needs put into policy which serves as a guide for the planning commission and council."

Citizen-generated ideas for the city include expansion of alternative transportation, development of an historic district surrounding a local college, and the appropriation of funds for new athletic fields. A redevelopment project on the east side of town--a street widening program complete with bike paths, sidewalks, improved lighting and side medians--was another initiative.

Details: Kyle Ezell at (423) 981 - 1332; e-mail address
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Title Annotation:Tennessee town unites over city planning
Author:Harris, Elaine
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 30, 1998
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