WESTBROOK — A more robust downtown, preserved open space and neighborhoods connected by sidewalks and trails are parts of a proposed new vision for the city.

Residents, city officials and business representatives met throughout the fall and winter to discuss and write down what they would like Westbrook to look like in 10 years.

The vision statement, which City Planner Molly Just presented to city councilors Monday, is the first step in developing a new comprehensive plan for the city. After a public hearing in May, the council will vote on whether to adopt that vision.

The state requires cities and towns to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. Westbrook’s plan was last rewritten in 2001.

The vision statement breaks Westbrook into north, south, east and west sections and describes the character of each.

In the southern part of the city, for example, the statement says, “where new commercial uses are proposed next to residential uses, there is a strong focus on compatibility.”

Just said the clash in recent years between Pike Industries and its neighbors — residents and businesses — inspired that clause.

Members of the committee that formed the vision said there were many debates about what should and shouldn’t be in the statement.

One member, Mike White, told the City Council on Monday that he believes the “push and pull” is a sign that “something’s happening in Westbrook.”

“If nothing was happening, we wouldn’t have anything to argue about,” he said.

Now the committee will write out the details of the comprehensive plan, which Just said she hopes will be finished in a year.

City Council President Brendan Rielly said “stepping back and looking big-picture” at the city’s goals is important work.

“Things like this do matter and can give us good direction for the future,” he said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]