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City of Fort Payne begins phase two of comprehensive planning process

February 8, 2023 · Projects

The City of Fort Payne has officially entered into phase two of their 18-month comprehensive planning process, Fort Payne Forward. Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC) has been contracted by Fort Payne to develop the strategic plan for the city.

Fort Payne Forward is a four-phase, 20-year comprehensive plan designed to help make the city a better place to live, work and play. The plan is currently in the second phase where input is gathered from the local community by hosting in-person stakeholder and public meetings, conducting online surveys and through interactions on the project website and Facebook page. The information gathered will help guide the creation of the specific development goals for the final plan.

More than 150 community members attended the first in-person meeting, which was held at the new Little Ridge Intermediate School, designed by GMC. GMC’s planning team presented their initial research based on public survey results gathered during phase one and shared general “big ideas” and concepts for the plan based on these findings. During the meeting, the community was able to give feedback on the development of the plan to ensure the planning team is headed in the right direction as they continue to gain buy-in and build consensus. GMC also led two group activities at the end of the meeting, during which groups created “vision statements” for the city and then participated in a priority ranking activity, discussing what the city’s priorities should be and the specific projects related to those priorities.

Phase three of the planning process includes drafting a master plan that lays out specific goals for each topic, such as housing and transportation, as well as action plans to meet these goals. Phase four will entail presenting the draft plan for public review so that it can be formally adopted and the work can begin. For more information on Fort Payne Forward, including to contribute to the online survey, visit