Murphysboro leaders craft new strategic plan - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Murphysboro leaders craft new strategic plan

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- Murphysboro's mayor releases a new comprehensive plan meant to guide the city for the next several years.

The last time Murphysboro officials put together a plan for the future was 1966.

Mayor Will Stephens says they haven't made many changes since then.

"We really hadn't taken a look at our comprehensive plan since the early 90's, so it was a time to take the pulse of the community and get a sense of what they felt the priorities were," Stephens said.

With the help of a grant from the Elizabeth A. Smysor Charitable Trust, the city began crafting a new plan with input from residents.

"We held a public forum over a year ago. We sent out thousands of surveys of which we got hundreds back," Stephens said.

And those responses guided the creation of "Murphysboro 2031: A Comprehensive Plan for The City of Murphysboro, Illinois".

The plan calls for several things: an improved downtown, promoting Murphysboro as a tourist destination, embracing history, improving infrastructure city-wide, encouraging business and workforce development programs, and to have more programs for kids.

Mayor Stephens said it's not a major departure from previous plans but one key difference is the emphasis on healthy activities, like exploring the city's lakes, parks and forests.

"I think health, 30-40 years ago, was maybe just something that people thought of as individual in nature, but I think that people, to some extent, like to see communities promote things like bike paths and things that will help promote a healthier community," Stephens said.

Stephens said he's confident the city can afford what it hopes to accomplish in the years to come.

Reporter's note: A previous version of this story said grant money came from Wells Fargo through the Benjamin H. Smyser Foundation, but that information was incorrect. Mayor Will Stephens said the money came from the Elizabeth A. Smysor Charitable Trust, which has no affiliation with Wells Fargo.

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