ALPENA COUNTY, Mich. — Until this year, every municipality in Michigan would submit their own master plans that outlined what representatives envision for the future. Alpena County, Green Township, Wilson township, and Ossineke Township submitted a master plan together recently– and it was the first time in Michigan that a joint master plan was formed.
“It’s the first one of its kind in the state of Michigan,” said Alpena County Commissioner Kevin Osbourne. “Multiple governmental unities got together and formed a planning commission to come up with a common plan or goal.”
The master plan is an outline for the county and participating townships over the next five years. Normally, each township or city within Alpena County would submit an individual plan to the Alpena Board of Commissioners for review. By grouping together, both time and money are saved.
“Each township and county has to have a master plan,” Osbourne said. “So if we can work together as a team some of the items aren’t duplicated so the county saves money and the township saves money.”
A lot the ideas that were in the individual plans overlapped, and it was a logical move for the joint master plan to serve a broader population. Officials want to include more partners in their next master plan, which could come earlier than expected. As the area changes, so do the plans.
“Plans always change,” Osbounre said. “That’s why you’re do it over and over repeatedly, because the constituents might change.”
Municipalities have different schedules at which they discuss their planning, and if officials can get the timetables synced, they may see more townships and cities join their Master Plan.