CANYON, TX (KFDA) - As Canyon continues to grow, the city is beginning to draft a comprehensive plan for decades of future development.
Canyon is growing fast - it's projected to be home to close to 20,000 people by 2040.
That's close to 6,000 more people than live there now.
So the city is acting now to create a comprehensive plan to accommodate that growth, and try to improve Canyon for the people who already call it home.
Comprehensive plans are created by cities periodically to plan for growth and city improvements.
It's been over 20 years since Canyon's last comprehensive plan, and an outside planning firm has just started work with city staff this week on drafting a new one.
"We have to know what it is that our citizens want us to be, and what they want to be," said Randy Criswell, Canyon City Manager. "This isn't my town. This isn't the city commission's town. This is [the residents'] town."
The planning firm Freese and Nichols said the major assets of Canyon that they'll use to determine growth and planning are the downtown square, proximity to Palo Duro Canyon, WT and Canyon ISD, and the proximity of Canyon to Amarillo.
"Those have all been positive relationships that we're hoping to build on," said Dan Sefko, Planning Director for Freese and Nichols. "So we're looking now at things like existing facilities, water and sewer, trying to document the existing conditions."
Criswell said overall reactions from the public have been positive, with the 50 or so people attending the first public meeting Tuesday showing interest in all the planning firm's initial ideas.
But some long time residents want to make sure not all the focus is put on the biggest demographic - younger college students.
"The development and the growth has been very interesting for us," said Diana Riha, a 31 year Canyon resident and retired CISD teacher. "We love living there, but we love the small town quaintness of it, and we don't want to lose that part of Canyon."
City staff will continue to take input from residents through information booths at the 4th of July celebration, another public meeting in the fall, and an online survey.
Planning directors and staff hope to have at least 1,000 survey responses from Canyon residents.
You can access that survey here.