By Deb Murphy

The City of Bishop and community stakeholders put together an Economic Development Element Update to the General Plan two years ago, focusing on ambitious goals to solve some of the issues of a rural community with unique constraints. An Environmental Protection Agency Sustainable Communities Grant awarded last year may go a long way to make those goals achievable.

At Wednesday evening’s Community Workshop, the city brought together area residents and the first phase of consultants, Renaissance Planning and EPA staffers, in a series of traditional planning exercises to identify a future vision for Bishop and the major challenges and opportunities.

In the future, the grant will also bring governmental agencies with technical assistance and expertise relevant to Bishop: the federal Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development, the Small Business Development Center and Office of Housing and Community Development.

Kate Ange, Renaissance vice president, defined the company’s role as helping the city develop strategies and action plans for both quick fixes and long-term action items toward revitalizing the downtown area, solving the housing shortage.

By the very geography of Bishop, landlocked by public lands, Bishop has already achieved some of the goals of smart growth, Ange told the approximately 70 attendees. Bishop is “walkable, compact with mixed use places.”

The consultants met with Bishop city staff and other stakeholders Thursday to go over community input and begin the process of developing strategies to achieve the goals identified by community members.

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