On July 20th the City of Osceola and consultants from RDG Planning and Design set up visioning boards and information to help facilitate an off-line discussion about the future of the city. From quality-of-life opportunities to updated infrastructure and housing development, boards around the Revelton Distillery gathering space were reviewed and commented on from dozens of attendees during the hour and a half long open house.
Click the images below to see photos from the Visioning Session:
“This is what we were hoping for,” said Osceola Mayor, Thomas Kedley. “Getting our community together to have real discussions about the future of our city is an integral part of the Comprehensive Plan development. The City Council and the Comprehensive Plan steering committee really depend on the input from the community to make these long-term decisions – decisions focused solely on improving life and doing business in Osceola.”
Since November of 2022, the Osceola City Council and RGD Planning and Design, along with local leadership, have been working on gathering data to guide future development plans for the city. Through strategies developed by the RDG team, the plan will progress through several input and evaluation stages, all leading to a final, Osceola Comprehensive Plan-2045 to help steer the city into the future.
“These visioning sessions help gather real data from those who live and work within the city to help perpetuate that community growth,” said Charlie Cowell, Strategist with RDG Planning and Design. “Relative to other sessions we’ve guided, tonight’s attendance has been no less than impressive.”
Much of the conversations over the evening centered around housing, parks and trail additions, and infrastructure improvements. Some suggestions seen on the visioning boards included “Mid to higher-level housing development,” and “Fine dining options,” as well as “More travel / tourism attractions” and “A reduction of commuting workforce” posts.
When asked how Osceola can attract more development investments in the area, many pointed to the flourishing amenities throughout the community, including a growing trail system, the increased opportunities for entertainment as seen with Revelton and the newer shops throughout town. They also discussed strategies around building neighborhoods focused on these activities to increase the appeal of living and working in rural Iowa.
“Twenty-five percent of Osceola’s workforce commutes to or from the Des Moines- Metro area.” said Mayor Kedley. “We need to make it so our community so appealing to families looking for a better quality of life that commuting for anything different becomes a non-issue.”
For more than two months, the strategic planning portal, built by the RDG team, has been available online. There, community members continue to add suggestions or comments on future development within Osceola.
“For those who couldn’t attend the Visioning Session, the online portal will remain available for a few more weeks,” assured the RDG team.
The information gathered from the portal, along with the comments and discussions from Thursday’s event will go into the data to create the comprehensive planning strategy for Osceola. The final plan is slated to be done by mid-to-late Fall 2023.
“We’re trying to give the citizens of Osceola as many opportunities as possible to voice their vision for the future of our city,” said Kedley. “Events like this and the online portal are the tools necessary to realize everyone’s’ future.”