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Help plan the city’s future

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Timing is everything, especially with community planning. By the time ground is broken on a new road, park, apartment building or shopping center, it’s probably too late for public comments to change the plan.

For Gallup’s Growth Management Master Plan update, the time to get involved is now. City planners and consultants Decker, Perich, Sabatini are updating the document, which helps shape community goals and guide planning decisions.

“It’s basically a long-range plan for how the city develops,” Planning and Development Director C.B. Strain said. “We have to update it about every five years. Things change. Trends change.”

The consulting firm doing the GMMP study and hosting the meetings is the same firm that led a 2018 update to the Land Development Standards. The standards are actual regulations, while the GMMP is a less formal guide.

Outreach for the GMMP started with stakeholder focus groups and a sparsely attended session in March. Meetings scheduled for June 9 and 10 represent a new approach to community input, with open sessions for the community to drop in to learn more and join in an “interactive visioning exercise” at El Morro Event Center at 210 S. Second St.

They will include open houses from 4 pm to 6 pm June 9 and from 12 pm to 2 pm June 10; and visioning workshops from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm June 9; and 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm June 10.

Planners will also be set up at ArtsCrawl from 7 pm to 9 pm June 10 to spread the word, and there’s also a website with an interactive map so citizens can comment on hazards, needs or wishes for particular spots in town. The goal is to make the sessions less formal and easier for members of the community to find and attend.

“We know there is going to be a lot of people at ArtsCrawl. This is an attempt to capture some of those people,” Strain said. “Hopefully they show interest and we can explain what’s going on with the process.”

While the multiple traffic and road studies running on a parallel track are about getting to, from and around Gallup, the GMMP will help the city respond to citizen needs and preferences on just about every aspect of life as the city grows.

Categories include Land Use; Transportation; Urban Design; Economic Development; Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Housing; Water; Utilities; and Hazard Mitigation.

Broadly, the GMMP’s goals are to establish priorities for updating parks and recreation facilities; support robust and diverse housing options; update goals and policies based on current conditions and demographics; and build the local economy.

The city wants to know how residents want to accomplish those goals. Comments can include anything from where folks would like to see more trees or bike lanes to library and museum improvements to ADA-compliant facilities and housing affordability.

The GMMP update is expected to be finished and approved by the end of the year, so unlike the suggestions that go into road planning, their impact could be felt in projects as early as next year.

“Whenever a new development or new roads or things like that happen, we reference the plan and see if it’s consistent with the recommendations of the master plan, where housing goes and things like that,” Strain said.

At press time it was undecided whether the June GMMP sessions would be webcast or when the next public meetings will be held, only that more are expected later this year.

To view information about the GMMP and access the interactive comment map, see galliupgmmp2023.mysocialpinpoint.com.

By Holly J. Wagner
Sun Correspondent