The Van Buren Planning Department and the Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization are working together to learn residents’ opinions on pedestrian and bike trails in Van Buren.

City Planner Joe Hurst said three public meetings are scheduled for residents to give their input.

The meetings will be Feb. 6 at the Van Buren Municipal Complex, 1003 Broadway St.; Feb. 13 at the Van Buren Public Library, 1409 N. Main St.; and Feb. 28 at Northridge Middle School, 120 Northridge Drive. All meetings are from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Hurst said the city is grateful to the FMPO and its director Dianne Morrison for Van Buren’s first trails plan.

“Community input is essential to the process,” Hurst said. “And judging from all the emails, social media comments, phone calls, and discussions with our residents, I expect a great turnout at these meetings.”

Morrison said trails plans are necessary for communities looking to improve upon the quality of life for their residents.

“The economic impact of improving quality of life issues can aid in recruiting new businesses to developing communities, as well as provide current citizens with a view of their tax dollars at work,” she said.

During recent meetings, the Van Buren Parks and Recreation Commission has sought to find a beginning point for its effort to develop a master trails plan for the city. Commission members have worked to find out what the city has and its residents want.

In the past, Hurst has pointed out there are numerous grants available to assist in the city’s effort to develop its trails system.

“We need to consider all options available to the city,” Hurst said. “We are at the very beginning and we need to know what the citizens of Van Buren would like to see.”