Key Questions and Big Ideas

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Throughout the public engagement process, we have heard a number of different questions, ideas, and themes, that have been insightful and sometimes conflicting or paradoxical. We would like to hear your thoughts on what we have heard so far. The information we have gathered is listed below and organized in to a series of insights, background, and questions.

Throughout the public engagement process, we have heard a number of different questions, ideas, and themes, that have been insightful and sometimes conflicting or paradoxical. We would like to hear your thoughts on what we have heard so far. The information we have gathered is listed below and organized in to a series of insights, background, and questions.

  • Worthington will preserve what makes Worthington “Worthington”: Its engaged, passionate, civic-minded and educated people.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    There is something about Worthington. You recognize it immediately as you walk, bike or drive through Worthington, its Village Green or its Neighborhoods or as you talk to residents out enjoying their community. People love to live here and feel it relates to the people, the neighborhoods, the family-friendly atmosphere, historic past, small town near a big city, various events and many community organizations. This must be balanced with the desire to be forward-thinking and adjust to the changes in today’s society.

    Background

    • Public input attendees used adjectives to describe those who lived here as easy going, not pretentious, family focus, environmentally conscious, welcoming, inclusive.
    • Public survey respondents (40%) stated the second highest ranked #1 reason they live here is community feel.
    • We need to think in terms of what we can accomplish together as a team.

    Key Questions

    • How do we balance this community feel and retain it, while being forward thinking and adjusting to changes in the economy?
    • As a Worthingtonian, what is your “big idea” for the future of Worthington, 10-20 years out?
    • Would you be willing to join a committee to volunteer your time to assist in creating the government framework necessary to achieve these visions?

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  • Worthington will work to encourage diverse populations (in regards to age, race, income, religion, and lifestyle) to call Worthington home.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Diversity has been mentioned in just about every conversation we have had from interviews, the SOAR Analysis, Vision Worthington Website, the Focus Groups and the Public Survey. It seems the overwhelming majority of residents want to be inclusive and welcome diverse populations.

    Background

    • The Worthington population has a median age of 43.3 (one of the highest in Franklin Co) and 25% are 65 and older (vs 15% for similar communities).
    • 93% are white only as compared to 91% or similar communities and 81% for adjacent communities.
    • Public participants stated that they want to see more diversity and more interaction among the different populations within the City.
    • 42% of respondents felt being inclusive is an important future characteristic of Worthington.

    Key Questions

    • Do you agree that Worthington should have an established goal of becoming more diverse?
    • What are your suggestions for making Worthington a more diverse City?
    • How will you know when we have reached the goal of making the City more diverse?
    • Do you think there is a relationship between lack of diversity and lack of housing options in Worthington?

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  • Worthington will expand housing choices to foster a more livable community for all ages and income levels.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    We want to increase housing options for all ages and price points and be more inclusive but there is resistance to denser development and fear of losing greenspace and openness.

    Background

    • In our public input process, we heard that long –time residents or those residents who want to move into condos to age in place have difficulty finding these options in Worthington.
    • We heard that if we want to encourage diversity, we need different types and prices of housing.
    • Public Survey responses (48%) show that people do not live in Worthington because of housing availability (houses for sale, price range, etc.)

    Key Questions

    • What types of housing or price points do we need more of?
    • What is your definition of "density" related to residential development?
    • What aspects of "Dense" development are people most concerned about?
    • What creative solutions have we seen other communities using to achieve this?

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  • Worthington will promote a varied business economy, including niche businesses.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Economic development should be done in the “Worthington Way,” balancing tradition, history and character with a recognized need for additional jobs and tax base within the City. There seems to be two differing opinions when it comes to the density of development and re-development. Any vacant land and/or buildings available for development and re-development can assist with additional funding for the City.

    Background

    • Almost 70% of the City’s revenue sources come from income taxes and these funds are used to provide the City Services that the majority of surveyed residents rank very highly.
    • There are very few sites available for new development and redevelopment is very difficult and can be expensive. Wilson Bridge Road buildings fluctuate between high 80’s-low 90’s % occupancy (right now at 88%), so there are is not much availability here.
    • The #1 planning issue on the Public Survey for visioning to focus on was land use. In public input discussions, there was a lot of consensus that something needs to be done with the vacant land and vacant buildings; however, there is still not consensus on whether development should be green space (or green-space that generates revenue) or new offices/housing/retail/restaurants.
    • There is still considerable friction between those who wish to keep as much green-space as possible on currently vacant land with those who wish to see some level of development.

    Key Questions

    • Do you see a middle ground on this issue? What would it be?
    • What would a niche market/economy look like in Worthington?

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  • The City of Worthington will have strong & proactive leadership, working to represent the residents’ interests, unified in the goal to make Worthington the best suburb to live, work & play.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Governance was discussed as being important in all of the public input sessions. Adjectives used to describe an ideal governance included: strong, decisive, transparent, collaborative (ability to bring together competing viewpoints and make difficult decisions for the good of the majority of the community), creative, user-friendly and proactive (not reactive).

    Background

    • The City has plans, codes in place and incentives to help with development in the community.
    • Some of these documents may be outdated or need updating to stay competitive with other communities.

    Key Questions

    • How do we facilitate governance to exemplify the above adjectives?
    • How do we incorporate minority voices into decision making?

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  • Worthington will continue to be natural and sustainable, as we value parks, green space, outdoor activities, and sustainability

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight:

    Parks/Recreation/Greenspace rank highly as a reason people choose to live in Worthington. Respondents seem split on whether we need to maintain our existing parks/recreation/greenspace, enhance our existing, or create new parks/greenspace in addition to the existing parks/greenspace. Sustainability seems to be an important topic in the City.

    Background:

    • The City currently has 20 parks and maintains over 221 acres.
    • Public participants were torn between improving existing facilities (new restrooms, general clean up/renovations) and creating new greenspace/rec/park areas.
    • Approximately 50% of public survey respondents said parks are a #1 item important to them for quality of life in Worthington.
    • Some public input was hesitant about development/high rises due to affecting greenspace.

    Key Questions:

    • How would you propose to pay for improvements/new acquisition of park land?
    • Do our parks need more amenities (like shelters, restrooms, and playgrounds) or just open space?

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  • Worthington will maintain the existing level of City Services

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Excellent City Services seems to be important to residents. The overwhelming majority of respondents are pleased with City Services. Excellent City services rely, in part, on the tax base.

    Background

    • Public Input Survey is showing us that the majority of residents are ranking City Services as excellent to average.
    • Fire services, ambulance/ems, garbage collection, snow/ice removal, yard waste pick up, leaf collection and recycling were all ranked as #1 by over 50% of respondents.
    • Land use/zoning and economic development/business development were ranked as needing improvements.

    Key Questions

    • How would you balance City services with potential decreasing revenues?
    • Should the City look to reduce some existing services in order to have resources available for new services?
    • If so, which existing services could be scaled back?

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  • Worthington will harness and better organize the engaged community groups, allowing them to focus on all working towards the common goal of a better Worthington.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Intra-Community Coordination was discussed in just about all forms of our public participation. There are a lot of educated, engaged people working within their organizations and/or non-profits to make Worthington a better place to work, live and play.

    Background

    • This has been talked about in all forms of in-person public input as very important to visioning; however, in the public survey, it was ranked as least important (along with Governance) as an element to focus on during visioning.
    • Public input events had people saying coordination was most important between the City and the Schools.
    • The highest ranked #1 reason (43% of respondents) people are moving to Worthington is the schools.

    Key Questions

    • How do you see the City working with the schools, non-profits, businesses, developers, and others?
    • What do you believe limits better intra-community coordination?
    • How would you drive consensus between the various intra-community interest groups?

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  • Worthington will strive to have updated infrastructure to meet the needs of existing residents/businesses and future planned development.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    We want to have reliable infrastructure that is built for existing development (residential, commercial and industrial) and future planned development. However, funding for infrastructure is directly tied to taxes, which is directly tied to economic development/redevelopment.

    Background

    • Public participation echoed that roads are well maintained, but issues with water/sanitary sewer/storm sewer, sidewalks and above ground power lines should be addressed.
    • There were also discussions on offering city-wide internet.
    • Public Survey respondents said infrastructure was the second most important planning element for visioning.
    • 52% of respondents felt a connected/walk-able community is also important.

    Key Questions

    • Have you experienced any issues with Worthington's infrastructure?
    • What were/are they?

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  • Worthington will continue to be mobile and interconnected and will strive to focus on different forms of transportation to enhance walk-ability and bike ability through its corridors.

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    10 August, 2020
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    Insight

    Multi-modal transportation to and from the City and within the City, especially along High Street, is important for residents, visitors and businesses. However, there are concerns that there is an increase in traffic on High Street and not enough emphasis on different modes of transportation (pedestrian, bikes, public, etc.)

    Background

    • Public input participants all seemed to want to have a high functioning, aesthetically pleasing corridor along High Street.
    • Overwhelming public survey respondents are commuting to Columbus to work.
    • Gen-Z focus group stated they are using bikes and walking to get around Worthington.
    • All focus group participants were passionate about the City remaining walk-able and increasing walk-ability.
    • Many participants want to see the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan implemented in the near future.
    • 52% of respondent felt a connected/walkable community is also important.

    Key Questions

    • How would you improve the transportation network to/from and within the City?
    • What are your ideas on paying for sidewalk improvements?
    • Do you think connections with infrastructure between the Downtown and the Mall are important?
    • What does that connections look like to you?

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