Chapter 1: Vision
The West Monroe Citywide Master Plan process includes a holistic analysis of key trends, future projections, strategic opportunities, and pressing challenges the city faces to achieve a prosperous economic and social future. Quantitative research is combined with comprehensive stakeholder outreach to ensure that West Monroe’s strategic priorities reflect the community’s vision and guiding principles.
- The City of West Monroe assembled a project steering committee comprised of 31 individuals with backgrounds ranging from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
- The steering committee convened quarterly for meetings to assist with oversight of the planning process and to ensure the development of the master plan was community-centered and in alignment with citywide priorities.
- The Atlas team convened the steering committee for its first official meeting in December 2020 to provide an overview of the scope of work for the master planning process before facilitating a discussion related to the key elements for each focus area included in the plan. Due to concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, the first steering committee was conducted virtually via Zoom.
- During the Atlas team’s first site visit in February 2021, the steering committee was convened for its second meeting to provide input related to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) for each focus area.
- During the Atlas team’s second site visit in April 2021, the steering committee was convened for its third meeting to discuss the proposed guiding principles for each focus area. Additionally, the Atlas team was joined at the meeting by their partners at Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) who facilitated a land use workshop for steering committee members to provide specific input related to zoning and potential growth areas.
- During the Atlas team’s third site visit in October 2021, the steering committee was convened for its fourth meeting to discuss and provide feedback on the proposed goals and strategies for each focus area. Additionally, the CEC team joined the meeting virtually via Zoom to review the proposed future land use map they developed and solicit feedback for changes and improvements.
- The Atlas team facilitated two open-invitation public visioning sessions during their first site visit in February 2021.
- The Atlas team provided a project update to the Board of Alderman at their public meetings in February and April 2021, and stayed through the conclusion of both meetings to host a meet and greet with residents interested in learning more about the process.
- During their second site visit in April 2021, the Atlas team hosted two open-invitation public input meetings to solicit feedback on the proposed guidelines principles. Additionally, CEC facilitated a land use workshop during both public meetings to gather diverse perspectives on the historic and future development of the community.
- An online community survey was released in February 2021 and closed in June 2021. The survey generated 431 total responses.
- Before their second visit in April 2021, the Atlas team collaborated with the City of West Monroe to establish five subcommittees composed of community leaders who are either practitioners, subject matter experts, or concerned residents.
- The subcommittee members were commissioned to help inform the development of the goals, strategies, and actions for each focus area included in the master plan.
- Overall, more than 35 individuals participated in the subcommittee meetings.
Existing reports & studies
The following reports and studies helped inform the development of the citywide master plan:
- West Monroe Downtown Master Plan (2020)
- North Delta Regional Planning & Development District’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (2020-2025)
- Ouachita Council of Governments Metropolitan Transportation Plan (2020)
The citywide master plan utilizes a variety of data indicators to examine West Monroe’s competitiveness as a place to live, work, and do business. The Atlas team sourced data primarily from the U.S. Census Bureau and other public sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey that collects and produces information on social, economic, housing, and demographic characteristics for communities throughout the United States. While the survey is annual, data indicators for communities with fewer than 65,000 residents are typically provided as five-year averages in order to increase statistical reliability and reduce margins of error. The tradeoff is that ACS 5-Year Estimates are less current. For instance, 5-Year Estimates from the 2019 ACS are derived from 60 months of data collected between 2015 and 2019. Because West Monroe has a population of fewer than 65,000 residents, this assessment exclusively uses 5-Year Estimates for ACS data indicators.
West Monroe is the primary geographic unit of analysis in this report. However, to provide additional context, data indicators for West Monroe are
benchmarked against Ouachita Parish, the State of Louisiana, and the United States. Comparison areas are intended to provide context and perspective on West Monroe trends but did not influence the goals, strategies, and actions for each focus area.
Guiding principles reflect core values of the community, and they are developed through substantial citizen involvement to ensure the goals, actions and priorities identified in the master plan reflect their collective desires for the future of West Monroe. Understanding these guiding principles will help ensure that, if implemented, the master plan will move the city towards these collective goals.
The following guiding principles are grouped into six topic areas: Community Character and Land Use, Housing and Neighborhoods, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Economic Development, and Public Infrastructure. Each guiding principle speaks to a specific component of the community and as such they are not presented in any particular order of importance. When viewed together, these guiding principles illustrate the vision for West Monroe now, over the next five years, and into the future.
- Promote quality new development that is balanced to cultivate a healthy, livable community
- Protect and improve existing neighborhoods
- Maintain consistent, equitable, and transparent land use decisions
- Preserve and enhance downtown cultural and historic districts
- Foster a safe and clean environment
- Offer diverse housing types for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds
- Maintain design standards for quality residential development
- Develop walkable neighborhoods with connectivity to public amenities
- Ensure residential properties and neighborhoods are properly maintained
- Proactively prepare for residential growth
- Ensure streets are safe and navigable to accommodate all modes of transportation
- Improve traffic flow and vehicular mobility throughout the community
- Maintain and enhance existing road infrastructure
- Increase pedestrian facilities throughout the existing road network
- Maintain and enhance existing parks, trails, and recreation facilities
- Design new and improved recreational amenities on and along the Ouachita River
- Expand opportunities for youth sports and other forms of recreation
- Improve connectivity between parks and recreation facilities throughout the community
- Promote and support local small businesses
- Create and retain high quality jobs for working-age individuals
- Provide job training opportunities for job seekers, incumbent workers, and new entrants to the workforce
- Foster a business friendly environment for existing industry and new prospects
- Strengthen partnerships between government, industry/businesses, and academic institutions to align and collectively pursue strategic priorities
- Maintain and improve existing water, wastewater, and drainage systems throughout the community
- Maintain and enhance the existing road network and bridges
- Prepare for anticipated capital improvements
- Increase investment in disaster mitigation efforts
The Future of West Monroe
The purpose of West Monroe’s vision statement is to inform and shape future investment, policies, programs, and planning efforts to ensure the will of its residents is represented in the decision-making process.
During the entirety of the master planning process, the public was provided the opportunity to share their perspectives on future development and growth of the community. As supported by the collective sentiment of its citizens, the City of West Monroe adopted the following vision statement:
West Monroe exemplifies progress, innovation, and resiliency to ensure its residents and visitors experience a community that is culturally diverse and economically viable.