Boardman community weighs in on plan for the township’s future
By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
Several dozen people turned out Monday to share their opinions on the township’s future.
Township officials hosted their second meeting to gather public input that now will be used to craft a vision for the community. Those who did not attend the meetings can give their input via an online survey, at www.boardmantwp.com.
“It’s really important for us to get your feedback. What do you want to see?” said Krista Beniston, the township’s director of zoning and development.
The township is in the process of writing a comprehensive plan, which Beniston explained is a document that guides decision-making.
It is intended to answer questions such as, “Who are we?,” “Where do we want to be?” and “How do we get there?” she said.
At the forum at Boardman Park’s Lariccia Family Community Center, attendees got an overview of the planning process and the township’s past and current characteristics.
They learned about the community’s evolution from a rural agricultural community in the early 1900s, to a developing residential and commercial area after World War II, to today’s position as the Mahoning Valley’s commercial hub.
Attendees asked questions about regulations on signage; dilapidated motels; snow removal; and flooding problems, among other topics.
Beniston noted many of these issues will be addressed in an upcoming update of the township’s zoning code. This planning process will guide how the code is rewritten.
Next, attendees visited stations dealing with different topic areas, where they were asked to rate their priorities.
One station was about business districts. Numerous people identified the redevelopment of Market Street’s historic district into a mixed-use walkable area as a top priority. Others said the priority should be filling vacant, unbuilt and underused parcels with new development.
Another station addressed transportation. Numerous people said they would like the township to improve the township’s sidewalk network. Many said the township should focus on repairing and maintaining the “network of attractive streets.” Others identified the development of a bicycle network as a top priority.
The same topic areas are included in the online survey.
Kathy Cottrill, who lives in the Ridgewood Estates neighborhood, said she attended the meeting because “this affects our neighborhood.”
As for what she wants the township to look like, she said she would like “more of a hometown feel,” and increased pedestrian transportation options.
Noah Veauthier, a Boardman High School junior, said he would like to see more recreational opportunities in the community, something a few of his fellow students echoed.
Chet Bolender, who has lived at his house on Beechwood Drive for 23 years, said he attended to “support the community” and share an idea he has for his neighborhood. He would like for the township to purchase a vacant piece of land on his street and turn it into a community garden.
“This way the kids will learn something, and everyone has a little stake in what’s going on here,” he said.
As for the commercial parts of the township, Bolender said he would like to see some updates to some of the plazas.
The online survey, which is geared toward anyone who uses the township, will remain open a few more weeks. The zoning department next will focus on data collection then begin developing the plan.