In 1964, thousands of area residents worked in the Ohio Valley's many steel mills. Coal miners, also with good-paying jobs, were plentiful. Steubenville had about 32,000 residents.
Now, however, the local steel and coal industries are all but gone. Steubenville has just 18,429 residents, according to the Census Bureau. Times have changed drastically.
But one thing - the city's comprehensive plan - has not changed. That needs to change.
Local officials, residents and business people have been working for many months to write a new comprehensive plan for Steubenville, to replace the current document. It was prepared in 1964.
That was nearly half a century ago. Virtually nothing on which the current plan was predicated is the same today.
A new plan is needed for a variety of reasons. Practically speaking, it will help city officials update zoning regulations.
More important, however, is the comprehensive plan's role in taking Steubenville into the future. The document will serve as a blueprint for what city residents want their city to become.
Work on a new comprehensive plan began more than two years ago. A draft version of the new document is ready.
Steubenville residents and business people who have not been involved in developing the plan are being invited to a public meeting to discuss it. The gathering is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at the Historic Fort Steuben visitors' center.
Think of the comprehensive plan this way: When city and regional officials discuss specific ordinances and/or economic development plans, area residents, understanding the impact such action will have on them, frequently become involved in making decisions. The comprehensive plan will serve as a foundation for many such strategic actions in the future.
It is vitally important for local residents and business people - "stakeholders," we call them now - to be involved with the comprehensive plan. We urge concerned local residents, then, to attend today's meeting on the plan.