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Peterborough

Vision Forum report offers ideas for the town’s future

Transportation, asset management, balanced growth are keys

1. Improving means and access to transportation, with bike paths, maps and quality sidewalks to ensure access to community resources.

2. Creating a transparent, lasting, sustainable public/private organization to leverage current assets, effect policies, coordinate and promote outreach.

3. Promoting balanced growth while conserving the look and feel of Peterborough while encouraging economic vitality.

Those are the top vote-getters among the ideas generated in mid-April at the two-day Vision Forum 2014 sessions that drew about 180 participants to the Town House.

The forum, run by the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, was an initial step toward updating the town’s Master Plan. The intent, according to a Vision Forum 2014 report now available on the town’s website, was to determine what residents want the community to look like 10 or more years down the road.

The report includes Select Board Chair Barbara Miller’s opening remarks from the April session, where she said the most recent full update to the Master Plan was in 2003. Miller said current planning, zoning and subdivision regulations are tailored to match that vision of the community, which is now more than a decade out of date.

“It is important that we know if the 2003 vision should remain our guiding principles and priorities,” Miller said, before she went on to quote the words of Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else.”

Participants in the sessions broke into 10 small groups, where they focused on issues including downtown vitality, economic vitality, land use and development, and the look and feel of Peterborough. They then reviewed goals and opportunities arising from those group discussions before voting on which ones they most identified with.

Along with the three top vote getters, other popular goals included creating an intergenerational makerspace, expanding the use and appearance of the community center, actively promoting affordable high-speed Internet service and cell phone coverage and preserving and protecting natural resources.

A link to the full report is available on the home page of the town’s website, www.townofpeterborough.com.

On Wednesday, Miller said the next step in the visioning process will be to prepare a survey to get a sense of the priorities of a wider range of people.

She said the UNH Cooperative Extension Service will be helping to prepare the survey, which will most likely be ready in September and will be available both online and in hard-copy form at the town office.

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