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Commission sends city plan to council
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MONROE - The Monroe Plan Commission approved of the city comprehensive plan, one which officials are hopeful will create more change than its predecessor.

City administrators have commented that they aim to utilize the newest comprehensive plan, unlike the plan adopted in 2005. On Wednesday, there was little discussion by commission members as they voted to recommend the plan to the Monroe Common Council; the planning process for the new project had taken 16 meetings over the course of six months.

Savannah Ernzen, associate planner for the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission presented the finalized document to the commission. It had been open for review by the public for the past 30 days to ensure all items were carefully considered. The comprehensive plan will be put to council for final approval March 15.

Ernzen showed members of the commission an overview of the document as both a marketing tool and a planning guide for the city. She said an aim of the planning process was to create a document "engaging and unique to Monroe," a goal not met in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan.

Four lenses, or subjects vital to the well-being of Monroe, were named in the plan: health, education, inter- and intra-governmental cooperation, and youth retention and aging in place. Throughout the plan, there are goals set to improve aspects of life for residents of Monroe. Topics include housing; transportation; parks, recreation and natural resources; culture, creativity and community resources; economic development and agriculture; utilities and energy management; and land use and the built environment. Examples of goals within any given topic include a desire to create more quality, affordable rental properties, increase workforce training and enhance the aesthetics of the city's main entrances.

Previously, city administrator Phil Rath had echoed a sentiment within the city that the plan be utilized and not just a "placeholder on a shelf." Ernzen shared the same aim through her explanation of the plan as a marketing guide, an easy-to-read and colorfully outlined plan that contains ideas from private residents who wish to see change within their community.