Ranson plan predicts rapid population growth for city

August 04, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.Va. - The 2000 U.S. Census counted 2,951 people in Ranson, but that number could rise to 18,000 as growth occurs on about 3,000 acres that have been annexed into the city, according to a new comprehensive plan for the city.

The plan outlines what will be needed in the city as it grows, such as an expanded police department; alternative transportation such as shuttle buses; pedestrian trails, recreation areas and possibly identification of new school sites.

The Ranson Planning Commission has accepted the plan and a public hearing on the plan will be held Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, said City Manager David Mills.


At the hearing, the planning commission could send plan directly to Ranson City Council members for their consideration, Mills said. Or the planning commission could incorporate any suggestions from the public into the plan before sending it to council members, Mills said.

Both Charles Town, W.Va., and Ranson have annexed large tracts of land, prompting concern among county officials about towns gobbling up all the prime development land and creating confusing situations by having town boundaries extending different ways out into the county.

Ranson officials have stressed that the annexations they have completed are important to insure the town's economic vitality.

Highlights in the proposed comprehensive plan include:

  • Working with the City of Charles Town and the Jefferson County Development Authority to identify business parks sites in the city.

  • Considering a special entertainment category for land surrounding Charles Town Races & Slots. The special land designation could allow projects that would complement entertainment at the track, such as a convention center, a theme park or auditorium, Mills said.

  • Working with the West Virginia Department of Highways for road widening, intersection improvements and new highways in the city.

  • Exploring establishment of a shuttle bus system from Ranson to one of the commuter train stations in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., or Duffields, W.Va.

  • Connect parks and employment centers with a pedestrian trail.

  • Explore new recreation areas such as mini parks, community parks and linear parks, which use walking, biking and nature trails to reach other points of interest.

  • Working with county officials to plan for adequate school classroom space and identify new school sites.

  • Establishing two substations of the Ranson Police Department. Each station would have 10 personnel.

Instead of concentrating on only residential development, Mills said the plan tries to set a course that offers a mixture of residential and commercial development as well as offering other amenities to city residents.

"We want it to reflect the original layout of the city," Mills said.

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