MAPA wants input on community vision, values

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 12:00 am

Regional planners want to know what you see when you envision for the future of the metropolitan area.

Officials gathered on Omaha’s riverfront last week to draw attention to the need for public input in the Heartland 2050 project.

Heartland 2050 is a regional development plan led by the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency that aims to improve the quality of life of eight counties. The organization of local governments voluntarily coordinates planning and development of the metropolitan area.

The plan is the first time the governments of all eight counties served by MAPA have come together, spokeswoman Jo Giles said. The agency serves Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Saunders and Washington counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie, Harrison and Mills counties in Iowa.

Residents of those counties are urged to visit heartland2050.org to fill out a values survey, which asks why residents live in the metropolitan area, what their values are and what the best and worst aspects are for the community.

MAPA Executive Director Greg Youell stood near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and pointed to it and other redevelopment projects near the area as examples of how the region has progressed.

“Every voice matters,” Youell said. “It is our intention to invite all the residents of the region to share their values with us over the next three months.”

Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan and business executive Dana Bradford, co-chairs for Heartland 2050 initiative, encouraged residents across the area to fill out the surveys and help them with the vision.

“One of the best aspects of this project is the true public-private partnership to work together toward a common goal,” Hanafan said.

Residents also can meet with planners and share their opinions at various events in the next three months. An event in Sarpy County has not been scheduled yet, but a complete list of events where MAPA will be available can be found at heartland2050.org/events.

“We are working to get events in every county,” Giles said.

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