Chautauqua County and its communities were formed 200 years ago. The town of Busti was part of that formation, and as with other communities in the county, it has seen many changes occur. The question pondered by many town leaders over the years is "What is Busti's future?" What does the "road ahead" hold; and how can Busti preserve the character of the community that residents love while keeping pace with the times?
Busti last took stock of the town's condition, and what the future might hold, during a planning effort in 1970. Now a new comprehensive plan for the Town of Busti is in the works to help choose the "road ahead," and residents are being asked by town leaders for their assistance as the plan nears completion.
The new comprehensive plan has been almost two years in the making. After a steering committee was established, residents were surveyed on various issues. Focus groups met; public open houses were held; and a community profile was developed. The steering committee, and consultants, used this input to establish a vision for Busti's future and to identify critical issues and opportunities, key community values, and then develop sets of goals and strategies to address topics ranging from economic development to natural resources.
Pictured from left are Michelle McIntyre, Diane VanDewark and Todd Hanson with a citizen. Steering committee members recruit citizens to participate in upcoming workshops.
"Like many other towns and villages in the region, the town of Busti's population, which includes the village of Lakewood, is decreasing," said consultant Don McCord of Small Town Planning Services, who is assisting the town in the planning process. "Population peaked in 1980 at 8,728 people, and 2010 Census figures put the total population at 7,351. Other changes have occurred in both the town and the village, including a growth in commercial activity along Fairmount Avenue, residential and industrial development, and a decline in the number of operational farms and farmed acreage."
On Saturday and Tuesday, May 21, the town of Busti Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee will host Interactive Public Input Workshops. Saturday's workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center on Summit Avenue, and Tuesday's workshop will take place at the Busti Church of God on Forest Avenue from 6:30-9 p.m. Residents of the town of Busti and village of Lakewood are welcome to attend either meeting.
The workshops will consist of a brief presentation about the process, and the basis for Busti's draft vision, with opportunities for questions and answers. Participants will then be asked to take part in exercises designed to help them contribute their thoughts regarding the community's goals and strategies, and offered a chance to make additional suggestions. Light refreshments will be served, and "Best of Busti" door prizes will be awarded.