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Time is now to study the direction of planning for the future

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My Views

By The Staff

The family that operates under the umbrella of Bullitt County government recently lost a very valuable member.

Evelyn Fackler, a long-time employee with the Bullitt County Planning and Zoning office, passed away after an illness.

Starting in a small two-person office in what is now one of the history museum rooms, Fackler grew with the county.

From an administrative assistant, she was first promoted to assistant director and then took over as the planning administrator when Larry Belcher went back full-time to the General Assembly.

She provided many years of valued service to the county.

For the second time in the past decade, the county has an opportunity to take its planning office into a new direction.

For the past 25 years, we’ve done a lot more zoning than planning in Bullitt County. In spite of ourselves, the county has had some fairly responsible growth.

Much of that success goes to the developers and the elected officials who have generally been able to reach some compromises on what should be built in the county.

Over the past 20 years, county attorney Walter Sholar has been a champion in something I’ve tried to preach - we need some long-range planning.

Although many areas are developed, Bullitt County still has much opportunity for more growth.

Within the past several weeks, Sholar has again trumpeted the horn for some planning in the county.

I agree.

But it could be an opportunity to go beyond the scope of simply the planning and zoning office.

KIPDA will soon do a transportation study of Bullitt County. I bet it will tell us that we have too much traffic for the existing roads and that we need more alternative forms of transportation, such as mass transit and bike lanes.

But that is vital information that should have been obtained years ago.

After Beech Grove Road has experienced its own population boom, the city of Shepherdsville paid for a study that gave several options.

There are whispers that there is a desire to have a grant writer in county government.

I’m not too sure that is a full-time position and I’m not too sure how many grants are out there, even as we went to the Obama administration.

But that could be incorporated into the duties of the new planning position.

Maybe it could be a planning and development position.

That person could be a recent college graduate or even an employee from the KIPDA agency which has “planning” as its middle name.

The position could not only oversee the planning office but would be responsible for working with the eight municipalities, as well as economic development, KIPDA, the local homebuilders association, the school system, the utilities and the Chamber of Commerce.

That person could serve on some of the regional boards, including the BRAC group.

And the person could spearhead a group of leaders who look at issues 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road.

There is grant money, even in small doses, that could be secured by the county. But there is so much more that position could conquer.

Now is probably a good time to at least talk about it.

There is no doubt that construction is down throughout the nation. Wouldn’t it be great to be ready when things turn around?

With the right person and the right direction, it could be an exciting position in Bullitt County. It might also put the county as a leader.

Just something to chew on as the county looks to determine its next step.