City unveils growth update; retail, historic preservation added

GREENFIELD — Bringing new development — from improved parks to additional retail options — while preserving Greenfield’s historic character is the overarching theme of the city’s soon-to-be-approved city plan.

After months of work garnering input from residents and community stakeholders, the city is prepared to finalize the comprehensive plan update, a blueprint for the city’s growth and aims to guide city leaders. The plan lays the foundations for land-use decisions, declares the city’s goals and creates a vision for the future.

The last plan was drafted in 2006. In June, city officials and stakeholders began working to update the plan to better reflect what the community wants to see in coming years.

On Monday, city officials presented the update at a Greenfield Plan Commission meeting. Now, the complete plan is viewable on the city’s website at Officials hope residents will view the plan and continue to give feedback, city planning director Joanie Fitzwater said. During the next two weeks, her office will edit the document before it’s approved by the plan commission next month. It then goes to the city council for final approval.

Through surveys and public workshops, the city worked to connect with residents to hear what they believe are the city’s strengths and weaknesses and what they want to see in the future. Those who chimed in asked for diversified retail options, more trails, improvements to public parks and spaces and alternatives to using State Road 9.

Fitzwater said her office is overjoyed with the progress of the plan and believes residents will be able to see their input included in the update.

“We have moved mountains and worked a lot of overtime hours to make this plan come to fruition before the end of the year,” she said. “We’re really proud of this plan, we think it holds a really good variety of jewels and projects to choose from and a lot of easily … attainable projects and goals that we can use to move our community forward in the next 15 to 20 years.”

The 122-page plan, called “Greenfield in Gear,” looks ahead 30 years and includes land-use maps, which outline proposed growth, and plans for economic growth, new development and downtown revitalization. It focuses on preserving the city’s historic structures, history and identity while welcoming new development and residents. It includes more than a dozen goals for the city and implementation plans for those goals, which include:

Retain, enhance and promote the authenticity of Greenfield by preserving the historic character, heritage and architecture of Greenfield’s core.

Strengthen nonprofits and service groups within the community by establishing partnerships for grants, facilitating programs and increasing communication.

Ensure a sustainable balance of land uses to promote a diverse tax base.

Foster neighborhood safety and identity through design standards and removal of unsafe and blighted structures.

Encourage housing that is attractive to people of all ages, incomes and abilities.

Provide new park facilities proportionate to population growth.

Encourage physical activity by offering a variety of activities, parks and trail areas.

Continue to provide and enhance the travel network to allow safe and efficient transportation for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Seek funding for removal of unsafe structures, preservation of historic buildings and beautification projects downtown.

Improve travel efficiency and navigation downtown for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

Maintain a supply of properly zoned, shovel-ready sites for business and industrial uses.

Jenna Harbin, associate planner for the city of Greenfield, said much of the plan remained similar to what officials approved in 2006, but each chapter includes goals and objectives. Residents should find the plan approachable, she said.

“They can really start inspiring good conversations,” she said. “(The plan) doesn’t have to sit on a shelf and get dusty.”

City council member Gary McDaniel, who serves on the plan commission and the steering committee for the comprehensive plan update, said he really enjoyed working with residents to shape the plan.

“I found it very … enlightening. We got a lot of input on new areas to develop, new roads and new trails,” he said. “It’s just been fun. I really like seeing the people have input to the direction the city is going to go.”

At a glance

To view the draft of the city’s comprehensive plan update, visit the plan commission page on the city website, Want to weigh in? Email

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or