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Process begins for Baldwin Borough comprehensive plan

| Friday, April 12, 2013, 11:12 a.m.

A committee of Baldwin Borough residents seeks ways to shape the town's future.

Carolyn Yagle of Environmental Planning and Design updated Baldwin Borough Council on the group's accomplishments as they work to put together Baldwin's first comprehensive plan in more than 40 years.

“There's a lot going on here,” said Yagle, whose company was hired to work help the borough complete the plan.

The comprehensive plan will focus on three areas: community planning and a coming up with a vision of the town for the next 10 years; a detailed guide for parks and recreation; and changes to the borough's zoning, Yagle said.

Tackling three large projects as part of a comprehensive plan is a bit unusual, Yagle said. This is a large undertaking and likely will require policy changes at the council level and community input, she said.

“We know that the community is integral to some of the decisions,” she said.

The main question the committee has attempted to answer so far is: “What are the benefits and the high points and the real benefits of living in Baldwin Borough?”

Council members shared their thoughts as to how the borough could improve.

“We want to keep the standard of living in Baldwin high, but make it affordable for all the constituents and that's kind of a double edge blade,” Councilman Larry Brown said.

Increasing revenue also is important, Mayor Alexander Bennett said.

“Basically we're a residential area with some very small business districts,” Bennett said. “I think we have to generate more attention to our businesses. ... We need to try and find a way to get away from being a totally bedroom community.”

Borough leaders also are looking for the best ways to communicate and share their plans for updates on borough policies and projects with residents.

“Ten years ago, we were not communicating the same way that we are today,” Yagle said. “When people understand the benefits and implications and the costs associated, whether its time or dollars, if they understand what's going on, you have a different kind of dialogue.”

The borough sent more than 7,000 business style-cards, inserted into this year's real estate tax bills, to each residence, telling them about the comprehensive plan and ways to connect with borough leaders, borough Manager John Barrett said.

That had a positive response, he said.

Councilman Ed Moeller recommended improvements to the borough website.

“I think in this day and age, people are looking at websites. There's so many things that we do that we could put on the website,” Moeller said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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