For the past year, Mayor Kedley, and the Osceola City Council, along with local officials, businesses, and community members have been providing input and insight to the team at RDG Planning and Design for the development of a new Comprehensive Plan for the City. The Comprehensive Plan, intended to create a community-driven road map to the future of Osceola, is in its final development stages and will be made public before the end of the year.
“This is an exciting time for the entire community,” said Osceola’s Mayor, Thomas Kedley. “The work everyone has done in developing the plan has been more than we ever expected. The results should be inspiring.”
According to Kedley, “More than expected” is the crux of the latest stage in the comprehensive plan development. The team at RDG has been inundated with positive community input as well as ideas and innovations that they’d never experienced from a community planning program of this scale. While the data from numerous sources and input channels has been inspiring, processing it all into a cohesive, community-focused plan has been a challenge.
“After the program was launched at the beginning of 2023, the response to calls for input have exceeded all expectations,” said Cory Scott, Urban Planner from RDG Planning & Design.
The stages involved in this planning process have been more numerous and more involved than programs of the past. Starting in early 2023, committee groups comprised of local leadership, business, and others were formed to start the process of mapping out where Osceola and the surrounding communities could – and should go in the next five, ten, and 20 years.
From conceptual wish-lists to executable projects, everything was put on the table that included housing and transpiration development, quality of life options that included activities and amenities for a growing community as well as areas of concern like infrastructure, water, and roads.
After the initial comprehensive planning committee discussions, concepts and suggestions were moved on through a steering committee and discussed at numerous meetings with RDG and other development professionals.
In the Spring the city and RDG launched an online input portal where citizens and community members were encouraged offer their own ideas for the future of Osceola. Response to that resource showed a big opportunity to hear and consider ideas outside traditional planning and development data. It also showed that Osceola was passionate and vocal about their vision of the future.
In the most recent phase of the development, held over the Summer, Revelton Distillery opened their doors to host the community event including the city, development committees, the steering committee as well as anyone from the community who wanted to come publicly discuss ideas and concepts for the future of Osceola. With RDG also in attendance, the discussions at the event finalized the input of data for the comprehensive plan and added up to an exciting collection of development opportunities.
Ultimately, the development pillars the planning committees and RDG are focused on include:
- Continuity for a Complete Transportation Network – Concepts include a belt-loop road network for greater access to all areas of the city and tie into the already strong location of Osceola-to-transportation network.
- Improvement of Housing Options – Concepts include additional medium and single-family developments and workforce housing to meet employer demands.
- Establishment of Signature Destinations – Concepts include event and activity options and attracting hospitality and entertainment development.
- Enhancement of Recreation Opportunities – Concepts included further extension of the Osceola parks and trail systems as well as a recreation complex for health and fitness.
- Strengthening of the Downtown and Major Business Corridors – Concepts included the renovation of Osceola’s historic square and the Highway 34 corridor of business.
“There are a lot of pieces to Osceola’s future puzzle,” said Ty Wheeler, City Administrator. “But with the input from our community we’re really starting to see what our future can be.”
Wheeler went on to point out improvements that will be necessary in making all of these concepts a reality. From sustainable water solutions to updates in aging infrastructure, the ideas the community and committees have offered to the comprehensive plan hopes to address it all.
“With elections over and Osceola’s leadership established, the work of the city can move forward,” Kedley added. “It’s my honor to serve this community and I know we can continue to focus with solidarity toward solutions for Osceola’s future!”