Millbank Embarks on Master Plan Process
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Helen Hamilton   
Friday, 15 January 2016 14:08

MILLBANK – Imagine a town where its healthy and happy residents have plenty of recreational facilities and natural settings with many trees and flowers. A town where businesses flock to the downtown area, creating a vibrant and inclusive public space. A town where the infrastructure is easy to navigate and can function superbly even with inclement weather and fast population growth. Now imagine Millbank.

“Millbank’s motto is ‘A Place to Live’,” and I’d say we’re living up to that motto, says Millbank city council member Gary Shanks. “Barely.” Shanks posits that various large-scale factors such as climate change, the aging of the population and shifts toward an information and service-based economy have all taken their toll on Millbank over the last twenty-five years.

“Millbank hasn’t changed. It’s always been solidly mediocre,” says Dr. Linda Lavin, local historian and faculty member of Tri-City Community College. “But the definition of mediocre is changing with the times, and so Millbank must change, too.”

To that end, the Millbank City Council has embarked on an intensive, lengthy master planning process. At the beginning of the year, the council hired Civic Excellence Consultants, a Clean Springs-based architecture and project management firm. This process will require town-wide surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings and multiple planning workshops, and CEC will be there to make sure city officials keep things on track.

“Hoo boy, all it takes is a few loudmouths and a whole city can slide to s***,” says Lawrence Kliphoffer, CEC principal planner (random letters after his name). “We’ve seen it time and time again. Remember Cherry Falls and Steamvale? No? Well, that’s because their master planning process was hijacked by a bunch of idiots. Now those places are just holes in the ground.”

Planners and other lackeys from CEC have spent the first part of the month becoming familiar with Millbank’s current layout, demographics and services. They have interviewed all the members of the city council and recently, they met with the Millbank Boosters Club to begin gathering information about Millbank’s future. Over the next three months, they will begin setting meetings with different civic organizations and city departments, as well as issuing a city-wide satisfaction survey, to see what Millbank residents really want from their town.

Local residents are happy to weigh in, although they may not agree on what is most important for the future of Millbank. “I know what I want,” says Walt Lvlinks, local resident. “Fewer hooligans on my street. Can we plan somewhere to put all the hooligans or put them to work, or something? Making slide whistles?”

“Our recreational facilities need an overhaul to keep up with our population,” says Doug “Pickleball Doug” Sheffley. “There are some obvious improvements that need to be made, and I want to make sure that these are included in any long-range planning for Millbank.”

City council member Howard Dale advises calm and caution during the master planning process. “We know that, in order to serve the needs of Millbank residents, we’ll have to juggle everything from flood prevention to successful schools to a ensuring sufficient butterscotch pudding stockpile. That’s a lot to deal with, but with a rational, collaborative approach from all of our populace, we should be able to make Millbank the best it can be.” "We don't want to be a hole in the ground," says Dale. "We want to be Millbank."

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