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Lakewood Finalizes New ‘Community Vision’

Community meetings wrapped up at the University of Akron, Lakewood campus on Wednesday.

In 1993, the most important issues facing the city were image, housing, economic development and physical environment.

A lot has changed in Lakewood since then.

While those issues are still important, city officials set out earlier this year to update Lakewood's Community Vision, a document that outlines the state of the city and provides an outlook for the future.

This time around, city officials hope to put the document into practical use.

About 25 people attended the city’s final workshop to update the plan at the University of Akron Lakewood campus on Wednesday night.

The issues that were highlighted for the 2012 document include safety, mobility, housing, education & culture, community wellness and commercial development.

“The process to date has been a successful exploration of how our residents see Lakewood and what they hope for in the future,” said Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development.

“What is most important is not just that so many people contributed but how they contributed. They gave their time, energy and intelligence in a face-to-face, open and civil dialogue about our great community.”

Siley said recently that the work done in the 1990s was “the first attempt to articulate what’s important to Lakewood.”

“The world has changed dramatically in 20 years,” he added.

Back in 1993, the planning commission, along with residents, civic and business leaders identified four areas of concern to develop over a number of years, including the city’s image, housing, economic development and physical environment.

“There’s good content in there, but it’s expired,” Siley said, noting that in 1993 the Internet wasn't even introduced to the masses yet.

The crowd split into different groups to address key issues.

Each of the group’s ideas were shared in a presentation, posted on the city’s website.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Siley said. “We’re all very good at the typical process — that is the ‘what.’

“We struggle with articulating the why. The ‘why’ might be: We believe Lakewood is one of the finest communities in the country and we want to make it better.”

If residents missed the meeting, that’s OK. The city will present the data to the city’s planning commission and city council soon.

Or you could check out the presentation online.

Editor's note: The name of the university campus where the meeting took place has been corrected.

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