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Second comprehensive plan meeting held

By Staff | Mar 1, 2019

A second meeting to update Pierce County’s Comprehensive Plan was held Tuesday evening at the Rugby Fire Hall.

Led by Daniel Schwartz, president and CEO of Nexus Planning & Consulting LLC, meeting attendees learned of data collected and split into groups to conduct a S.W.O.T.-strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats-analysis.

Schwartz reminded attendees that requirement of the plan are that it is comprehensive; long range; general; focuses on physical development and relates physical design proposals to community goals and social and economic policies.

Schwartz had shown based on census data the county’s total population was in its peak in 1940 at over 9,200 people, and in 2017 the population was estimated to be over 4,270. The population is predicted to decline to 4,061 by 2020 and 3,784 by 2030. In 1945 Pierce County had over 1,100 farms at just under 600 acres. In 2017 there was an estimate of 500 farms that have nearly doubled in size.

Schwartz said the city of Rugby and Pierce County were “at a crossroads”, as while the county’s population was expected to decline Rugby’s population was projected to stabilize.

Schwartz said the “golden question” was “What does Pierce County want?”

During the S.W.O.T. analysis, land, the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center, schools and the Heart of America Medical Center were listed as strengths. Cell signal strength and wi-fi bandwidth had been among areas listed as weaknesses. Natural gas, expanding industries and tax bases had been listed as opportunities. Automation, depopulation, and borehole/nuclear waste storage proposals had been listed among threats.

– Tribune Staff Report

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