Your opinions can help shape the future of the city of Defiance. Officials with the city are seeking community input on issues such as housing, transportation, parks, land use and more for Defiance’s comprehensive plan. “The comprehensive plan is just what the name implies – a comprehensive plan of all facets of the city,” said Defiance Mayor Mike McCann. “This (survey) gives our citizens – not only those in but also around the city – some input on the plan.” Community members are asked to complete the survey online at https://cityofdefiance.com/help-us-plan-defiance. Individuals also may stop at city hall, 631 Perry St., for a paper copy. Information gathered will be used to update the comprehensive plan, which was last revised in 2011. City officials hope to have the majority of responses back in the next few weeks with all responses in by the end of the month. A 16-member planning committee will then examine the information to include in the comprehensive plan.
To ensure a complete community voice is heard, McCann said that the survey is also open to students in high school and Defiance College. Defiance High School teacher Hans Zipfel said that his students were very positive about being asked to take part in the survey. “The students appeared to be truly grateful that Defiance values their thoughts and opinions,” he said. “As a longtime educator within the community and an alumnus of both Defiance High School and Defiance College, I am very excited that this city does not discount its own …. A healthy polity is comprised of a hued diversity." Many students appreciated the opportunity to give their input.
“I have been going to Defiance High School for four years and have never had the opportunity to take a survey about the city before,” said Olivia Moats. “I thought it was interesting to high school students that their city recommendations can be heard." Santiago Valdez said he was glad the city let students have a say about the community as well. “I liked how we got to share some things and not just let the adults speak, because when you think about it, you want the youth to be happy and have a fun place to hang out. But it's not just about the youth, it's about everyone,” he said. Student Mark Jordan said he knows the survey is “very pivotal” to the community.
“Not only does it help inform our city leaders about what the people think,” he said. “But it makes their job a lot easier when making decisions. They want to make Defiance the best city possible. The ball is in our court to do our best to help them. This survey is certainly one way to do so.”
The survey is very important as it will help prioritize what issues citizens want tax money to be spent on to address. “There is no doubt that one of the things that has been a priority of my administration is improving the quality of life,” said McCann. “Most of what we have done, at this point, has been for the park system. What we are looking for is if people are wanting us to work more on our parks, and if so, what do they want to see? Then there’s the walkability of our community (with sidewalk repairs and replacements).… Everyone understands we have a pot of money to work with. It's not an endless supply. We want to know if we have been spending the taxpayers money properly (based on the community’s wants and needs).”
The comprehensive plan will be revised based on survey responses and information from public forms to be held later this summer. The revised plan is expected to be ready for council approval around March 2023.
“We would like as many people as possible to give us feedback on (the survey),” McCann said. It’s important to remember responses will have an impact on the future of the community. “By doing this(survey) the leaders of the community will know what they should do for the people who will end up living here in the future,” said Kinley Maynard, a survey taker and student.
Student Owen Keck-Priest said the survey addressed many concerns. “It was well put together and I am interested to see how the city will take action based on the results,’ he said. Zach Cullen, another student and survey taker, said he is interested in the results of the survey as well. “The survey offered a good opportunity for the community to speak up,” he said. “It shows me that the city does care about its citizens' opinions and is open to constructive criticism. I hope that the recommendations offered in the survey are taken into account by those in higher authority within the City of Defiance, and eventually we see some of these suggestions develop into real, tangible results.”
To let your opinion be heard, visit https://cityofdefiance.com/help-us-plan-defiance or the Defiance City Hall before the end of May.