FORT RILEY, Kan. -- A 20-year development plan is being established for the historic Main Post district at Fort Riley. Stakeholders from the garrison, division and partners held an Area Development Plan Practicum June 26 through 30 to collaborate on the plan going forward.

BJ Watson, chief of the master planning division of the Directorate of Public Works, said the group worked together to analyze the district, develop a specific vision and goals, and to develop a plan for possible future projects to meet the goals.

"Using the stakeholders input, DPW worked with the facilitating consultant to then develop a zoning plan that will be used to regulate development and evaluate proposed projects in the future," he said. "The entire process more closely matches city planning done in the private sector and produces plans that are more flexible to changing requirements and conditions."

Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander, was present for the first day of the practicum. He said the main goal is to maintain the character and integrity of this district and with that, several challenges arise.

"We have to look at the different things, come together and determine how to maintain these buildings and how we continue to maintain them and then prioritize the upkeep," Lawrence said. "If you take a historic building and leave it vacant, it will end up being taken down. If a historic home is left vacant for a year, it's got all kinds of problems because nothing is being run."

The facilitating consultant for this project is Michael Baker Jr. Inc. - AECOM Joint Venture, and is contracted by Installation Management Command through the US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District.

Through this contract, Watson said the vision plan for the entire installation was developed in 2013 along with an area specific plan for Camp Funston. The Custer Hill plan was developed in 2015. The Marshall Army Airfield plan in 2016. The Department of Defense adopted a new process in 2012 that required installations develop plans that comply by October 2018.

"Each of the five planning sessions has taken a week of concentrated effort for a group of up to 30 stakeholders," he said. "The consultant team then develops products behind the scenes for six months. Then the DPW Master Planning team presents these products to the leadership for final approval and acceptance. The DPW Master Planning Division has a team of four to five personnel whose primary job is to develop and maintain the plan. This staff also uses the plan to develop project documentation to meet the goals of the plans. The master plan is the first step to eventually constructing and new building, road or utility."

Watson said the master plan aims to improve the infrastructure and make Fort Riley a better place to live, work, train and deploy from.

"It enables planners and leaders to make good decisions about projects and puts the community in the best possible position to receive and use limited funding for the most benefit," he said.

The practicum ended with an outbrief to the deputy garrison commander, Tim Livsey, and participants presented the results of the analysis they conducted as well as alternatives they came up with. The consultant is scheduled to develop a draft plan in 90 days with an estimated final report around Dec. 2017.