LEESBURG – The Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will be hosting the fifth session of Our Community – Our Future on Monday, September 29 at the Lake-Sumter Community College, Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center from 6 to 8 p.m.
The event is a forum for elected officials and community stakeholders to learn smarter strategies for dealing with sprawl, which is the creeping of urban and suburban development into outer areas better suited for rural activities.
The facilitator for the evening will be Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Commissioner and Chairwoman of the Central Florida Smart Growth Alliance. The focus will be on developing a countywide vision for growth that discourages sprawl outward into our rural areas and encourages redevelopment of existing downtowns and urban cores.
The Lake~Sumter MPO is the regional transportation planning agency for the two-county area. The MPO is hosting the forum as a precursor to next year’s 2035 Transportation Plan, which will be presented for public feedback as it is developed throughout 2009. The Sept. 29 forum will focus on the connections among land uses, transportation facilities and community and neighborhood design.
Each elected official in Lake County is invited to participate in the forum, including municipal and county officials as well as school board, water authority and soil and water conservation district members. Select community stakeholders have also been invited, including area hospitals, the community college, chambers of commerce and citizen groups.
The first four Our Community – Our Future sessions, which began in May 2007, explored the vision for Lake County’s future. The visioning sessions included panel discussions on how local governments can become better organized at tackling issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries, such as water, transportation, education and economic development.
At the fourth session in June, elected officials, community stakeholders and regional resource agencies discussed obstacles, solutions, opportunities for partnership, and the need for communication, collaboration and cooperation. The fifth session format is based directly on the outcomes of the previous session. A sixth session will be scheduled for January 2009.