HAMLET— At their regular meeting on Dec. 11, the Hamlet town council opened the floor to HWC Engineering representative Lauren Wahl to discuss the town’s new comprehensive plan that the town can use to direct their community improvements for the next several years. “It’s not the county’s plan, it’s not the Stellar plan; it’s specifically Hamlet’s plan,” said Wahl. “You as a town council, it gives you good leadership to use this as a tool for the next ten years.”
For nearly a year, HWC Engineering and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) has been working with Hamlet to develop this plan. “We’ve worked with town staff, we’ve met with community stakeholders, we had two public meetings. We also met with the comprehensive plan steering committee multiple times throughout this to really refine the document,” said Wahl.
Wahl did specify that there are aspects of the Stellar Designation Grant plan that have been incorporated in the comprehensive plan. “We really just did that transparency-wise in the event that you didn’t get Stellar,” explained Wahl.
Since Stellar was awarded to Marshall County, Wahl was pleased that the contingency was built into the plan. As such, Hamlet can move forward with their improvements, regardless of the rest of the county. “Overall, Hamlet’s really unique as far as it’s a small town,” said Wahl. She went on to list the town’s assets, which include an updated utility infrastructure, proximity to US 30, the ability for industrial development, “Which is really unique for small towns because that can be a really big feat for a lot of people,” she said. She also placed the locally commissioned murals and artwork around town on that list. “It’s pleasantly surprising from somebody who spends a lot of time in small communities to see something like that,” she explained.
Since OCRA worked with the town on this project, there were some standards that HWC and Hamlet had to work with. “You’ll see some chapters just a little heftier, like the land use chapter than the hazard mitigation chapter. So we do fit within that,” said Wahl. “This plan was approved through OCRA and was successfully submitted through the Stellar application, as well.” The comprehensive plan, which is nearly pages long, is available to the public either on the Town of Hamlet Facebook page in a post made on Sept. 4 or by asking at the town hall.
After listening to Wahl’s presentation, the council discussed a resolution that would accept the comprehensive plan. “Whereas the town of Hamlet has identified an adequate reason to analyze the town of Hamlet comprehensive strategy; and whereas the town of Hamlet has hired HWC Engineering, Inc. to find and describe the issues, advise us of our options, and make recommendation to address the town of Hamlet comprehensive strategies and the town’s needs for the future… Be it resolved that the town council has considered input from the community and has received approval from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and is hereby approved by said town council on behalf of the town of Hamlet,” the resolution reads. The council voted unanimously to accept the comprehensive plan.