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Editorial: Have a say in the county’s future

You have a chance to impact Jasper County’s future.

The county government has launched an 18-question survey that will help develop plans for the community’s growth. The public’s input is imperative.

The initiative — Jasper’s Journey: Our Next 20 Years — was featured last fall with information sessions in Ridgeland and Hardeeville. The goal is to ensure that the public has a voice in Jasper County’s future growth and development.

Spearheaded by Lisa Wagner, the county’s planning director, and Symbioscity, a Savannah-based urban planning firm, those meetings were part of a nine- to 10-month information gathering process.

Well, here’s the next big step. Your opinion matters.

The survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/JasperPlan1. Hard copies can be picked up at several locations in the county, including the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage in Ridgeland and the Hardeeville Library. The survey will be offered through the end of February.

The questions include rating the county’s quality of life, its sense of community, quality of roads and affordable housing opportunities. You’ll be asked why you live in Jasper County and have the chance to add other reasons if the choices offered don’t apply.

The surveys ask the public’s opinion about the best thing in Jasper County and what you think should change. The survey also asks the public’s input on what it thinks are the county’s needs, including if it needs more or less commercial or industrial development, bike paths and trails, and workforce housing.

In less than 10 minutes you can help shape the county’s future.

There’s already encouraging news. The survey was released early last week and Wagner said as of Monday, 242 people had completed the online survey and she’d received 24 hard copies. And 142 people had signed up for e-mail updates.

Fantastic.

“We have had a great response, we are amazed,” Wagner said.

We’re glad things are off to a good start. You can find more information about the master plan on the county’s website at www.jaspercountysc.gov. Go to the departments tab, click on Planning and Building and then click on Comprehensive Master Plan.

The plan features many elements, including population, economic development, natural and cultural resources, land use and housing, community facilities, and transportation.

We attended one of the information sessions last year and were encouraged by the turnout and lively discussion. Wagner and Denise Grabowski of Symbioscity want the community to be engaged in its future and the survey is another step in keeping the public actively involved.

“You live here, you work here, you know this community,” Grabowski said during a meeting we attended. “Those are really the voices we need to make sure are part of this data-collection process.”

The process continues with the survey. Have a voice in your county’s future.

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