Across the nation, American cities are diverse and have comprehensive plans set in place to agree upon policies and make improvements that benefit the residents. Knowing that, my goal is to identify the strengths and weaknesses that the council members of Fredericksburg, Virginia have fostered in their comprehensive plan which intentions are to maintain the city’s physical, social, and economic features along with sustaining the qualities that make their town an “attractive place to live and do business (Adopted by Fredericksburg’s City Council, 2015).
While reviewing the plan I noticed that the population projections for the years 2020, 2030, and 2040 were included and broken down by age groups. Including these projections is beneficial because it aids in the developments of facilities and institutions that can better improve the city. These projections allow the city to understand which types of facilities are going to be needed in order to strategically plan for future developments. Population projections are very important to understand because the rest of the plan is going to focus on the people of Fredericksburg in a number of different aspects ranging from public services and facilities all the way to historic preservation and institutional partnerships.
One of my issues that concern the population is Chapter 10 of the comprehensive plan’s land use section. One of the objectives of the Land Use Plan is to address the conditions of certain areas and make recommendations as to what should be done. When reviewing Land Use Planning Area of 1 and 2, which is the Celebrate Virginia/Central Park and Fall Hill Avenue areas of Fredericksburg, I see that there are plans to expand recreational activities along the river for tourists to experience “scenic vistas, intact natural areas, and historic sites” and to develop a new interchange for the highway to relieve traffic congestion. Now, being a resident of Fredericksburg I know that where they are already in the process of expanding recreational activity and producing a new highway interchange, low-income families occupy neighborhoods not even one mile away.
Construction is going on everyday and has already taken away a basketball court and a park in the Heritage Park apartment complex to allow for the widening of what was once a two-lane highway into a four-lane highway with bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the Fall Hill area of Fredericksburg. The plan claims to want to “continue to improve Sunshine Ball Park and develop additional recreational amenities as feasible”. Feasible? To me, what I take from the word feasible in that statement is if after all of the already planned construction is through and if there is no space and funds available, then maybe some more recreational activities for the people in that community will be created. But by that time, the people in the community may have no choice but to move out.
The land usage portion of Fredericksburg’s comprehensive plan does not sit well with me in regards to the current and future population that has been so clearly determined for the next 25 years. Developing areas for visitors to appreciate while vacationing and expanding highways where families live on an already busy road is allowing for the neighborhoods on Fall Hill Avenue to be ruined and gentrified. The developments that are occurring could ultimately force these families to have to move out due to potential eminent domain requests, property’s being sold, and families having no choice but to move due to increased rental payments. With that being said, knowing that many of the families rent their homes that they live in, I fear their chances for experiencing negative effects from the plans that have been developed are terribly high. But hey, at least the city of Fredericksburg is sticking to their plan but keeping it “an attractive place to live and do business.”
Adopted by Fredericksburg’s City Council. (2015, September 8). Fredericksburg Virginia. Retrieved September 19, 2015, from Fredericksburg, VA-Official Website: www.Fredericksburgva.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5099