Oakland mayor has selected firm to develop Master Plan for town

Oakland Mayor Chris Goodman announced earlier this month that his administration has selected a firm to develop a Master Plan for the town.
“Of the three firms that we contacted,” he said, “this is the only one that responded in the time frame allotted. So, that kind of narrowed it down.”
Goodman made the comments during his monthly report at the July 16 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
While noting that he had met with the firm during the previous week, the mayor said he expects to present an “agreement” for the board to review at its Aug. 20 meeting.
At the beginning of the year, the Economic Development Committee of the Oakland Regional Chamber of Commerce asked the board to develop a Master Plan for the town.
EDC Chairman Arnie Birmingham told the board members at their Jan. 15 meeting that the committee interviewed several “planning companies” during the first few months of 2014.
He noted that all the companies presented what he considered “a very detailed process” for the town to go through in developing a plan. And he said the committee felt “strongly” that the process should be continued.
Birmingham recalled that the “objectives” for the town were identified, as well as a “tag line” that describes Oakland as the “residential, retail and business hub” of Fayette County.
While citing Arlington, Bolivar and Collierville as towns “similar” to Oakland, the committee chairman said they each have a Master Plan. He asked the board members to look at what it has done for those communities, just from an “aesthetic standpoint.”
“There are a lot of other communities like Oakland that do not have a Master Plan,” he acknowledged. “You can go through all of rural Tennessee, and they all look the same. So, I ask you very respectfully to get this Master Plan going.”
During the portion of the Jan. 15 meeting designated for board members’ reports, Alderman Karl Chambless echoed Birmingham’s concerns.
“I hope that, in future months, we can direct more serious attention to getting the process started,” he said. “I just cannot be convinced that not having a Master Plan is good.”
Goodman said Town Planner Chris Pate had provided information from the Metropolitan Planning Organization regarding funds that would be used to “help move that forward,” as well as what is expected to be available this year.
“So, it is definitely not a lost cause,” he noted, “and there are still some things going on in the background. But there are some things that this board’s going to have to address in order for me to go much further than I am.”
While acknowledging that Pate is doing “a wonderful job” with the Municipal Code, Alderman Billy Ray Morris said the board should distribute Requests for Qualifications for a town planner who can help prepare the Master Plan.
But Goodman said that, “regardless of the town staff,” he expects the board to hire a firm with not just a planner, but “a whole organization” to help prepare the Master Plan.
“There’s enough going on day-to-day with development that’s coming,” he concluded, “that we would have to make a priority decision, just like we have on other situations.”