Monday, November 26, 2012

Strategic Plan Meeting Summary

On Saturday, Nov. 10, elected officials, staff and members of the public gathered to discuss the city's vision for the next 10 years. Here is a summary of the items discussed:

Mayor Russ Wall reviewed items from the Strategic Plan that were accomplished during 2012. He described the 10 initiatives included in the plan, as follows:

Initiative 1: Customer Service – A Dan Jones Survey was conducted to evaluate community service in Taylorsville. Mayor Wall reviewed results of the survey. He cited improved communication with residents, businesses and customers at City Hall through social media means, and updates to the city newsletter. He noted that the city newsletter is now distributed by email to those who are interested.

Initiative 2:  Economic Development – Mayor Wall discussed efforts to improve and increase retail businesses in Taylorsville.  He specifically reviewed plans for the following properties:  DDR/Taylorsville Family Center; 5400 South Bangerger; UDOT Property at 6200 South Bangerter; 4100 South Redwood; 4800 South Redwood; and 6200 South Redwood; 

Initiative 3:  Transportation and Infrastructure – Mayor Wall discussed the 6200 South Extension at Labrum Park; 1300 West Reconstruction; and 4700 South Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Environmental Study. 

Initiative 4: Quality of the Built Environment – The Mayor reviewed efforts made to improve weed abatement and maintenance of rights-of-way.

Initiative 5: Neighborhoods and Code Enforcement – Mayor Wall discussed code enforcement efforts within neighborhoods and cited the city’s Good Landlord Program.

Initiative 6:  Parks and Recreation – The Mayor illustrated photos of the Community Garden at City Hall and cited the many trees planted within the City. He listed parks in Taylorsville and discussed park rehab improvement projects. He also described new and future parks planned in the city. 

Initiative 7: Public Safety and Law Enforcement – Mayor Wall noted that the city made the move to the Unified Police Department (UPD) this past year. He recognized Precinct Commander Tracy Wyant and cited the smooth transition to UPD.  He described improved services available through UPD. The Mayor cited a need to rebuild Fire Station #117.

Initiative 8: Volunteers, Staff and Resources – Mayor Wall recognized city volunteers in attendance and described recent volunteer efforts, i.e. cleaning up graffiti and streetscape. City Administrator John Inch Morgan cited 23 Eagle Projects performed in the City to help with cleanup efforts. Mayor Wall mentioned other volunteer cleanup projects that have occurred, i.e. cleanup along the Jordan River; Arbor Day celebration, etc.  He cited the valuable contributions of city committees.

Initiative 9: Environmental – Mayor Wall described strides towards becoming a “paperless City Hall.”  He discussed recycling programs and recycling sites in the City.

Initiative 10: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment – The Mayor described plans for the Taylorsville Veterans Day Event on Sunday, November 11, 2012.  He described the Veterans Memorial completed during the previous year at Taylorsville City Hall.

3. Strategic Planning Process Introductions – Mark McGrath

Community Development Director Mark McGrath reviewed the 10 initiatives outlined in the 2013 Strategic Plan. He discussed city planning that he was recently able to personally observe in the City of Boulder, Colorado. He illustrated designs to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

4. Individual Planning Initiatives Discussion and Survey – Mark McGrath, Facilitator

McGrath distributed responder devices to citizens and gave directions for operating units in response to a survey. Citizens in attendance responded electronically to survey questions.
  1. Initiative #1: Customer Service
City Administrator John Inch Morgan and Mayor Wall discussed administration’s customer service goals.

Rhetta McIff suggested having a TV screen on the main floor of City Hall to display pertinent city information for citizens who are waiting, etc. Suggestion was also made to install a kiosk.

Several citizens commented on ideas regarding customer service.  The need was noted to provide an image that better identifies the city. Demographics were discussed.

The Arts Council and Historic Preservation Committee expressed desire to have a more easily accessible page for community events on the city website. 
  1. Initiative #2: Economic Development
Discussion was held regarding priorities for economic development in Taylorsville.

Ideas were presented regarding capitalizing on baseball/softball tournament events held in Taylorsville.  

Community identity ideas were further discussed.  Economic Development Director Donald Adams stressed the importance of revitalization in neighborhoods.  He explained that the city must be willing to invest in itself in order to draw businesses that are willing to invest in Taylorsville.

Gordon Wolf suggested that building a performing arts center could be a key element in drawing retail businesses into Taylorsville.
  1. Initiative #3: Transportation and Infrastructure
Discussion was held regarding transportation issues in Taylorsville.

Additional discussion ensued regarding the importance of providing transit stops in Taylorsville, in order to generate revenue from those traveling through the city.

McGrath defined bus rapid transit as being similar to light rail transportation.
  1. Initiative #4: Quality of the Built Environment
Comments were made regarding beautification walls and streetscapes in the City.
  1. Initiative #5: Neighborhoods and Code Enforcement
Code enforcement issues were discussed. The suggestion was made that efforts be made to help neighbors who are unable to maintain their yards. Property rights were addressed.

Mayor Wall gave clarification on code enforcement issues and the need to provide balance.

McGrath explained the way that special improvement districts operate and how assessments may be made. Keith Sorensen commented that a Special Improvement District should have been implemented to cover cost of the 4100 South Wall Project.

Community revitalization ideas were discussed. City Administrator John Inch Morgan cited programs, i.e. Adopt-a-Street, Adopt-a-Neighborhood. It was noted that community councils could help implement such programs.
  1. Initiative #6: Parks and Recreation
Park maintenance was discussed. Questions were addressed regarding the implementation of new community parks. Mayor Wall noted that current parks in the city are over utilized. The necessity of maintaining and developing quality parks in relation to economic development was emphasized.

The importance of community trails was reviewed and voted upon.  Efforts were cited to connect park spaces to trails. The need for urbanized trails for students was referenced.

Recreation facilities in Taylorsville were discussed. Bringing in Classic Skating and other similar family recreation businesses was suggested. Economic Development Director Donald Adams noted that these types of businesses have been targeted.

LARP Chair Rhetta McIff presented ideas for utilizing existing parks and closing off streets for neighborhood/community recreational events. McIff cited a need to teach youth bike safety and biking techniques through school programs, etc.
  1. Initiative #7: Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Emergency Management
Discussion was held regarding public safety issues and needs.  Judge Michael Kwan suggested incorporating a performance center into a potential new Justice Center.

The need to make improvements to Fire Station 117 was cited and Battalion Chief Jay Ziolkowski described specific conditions of that building.

Jon Fidler suggested that a new third fire station in the southeast part of the city does not make sense.

Emergency Response Coordinator Lisa Schwartz explained the purpose for a community emergency operations center.

Chief Ziolkowski, Chief Wyant, and Schwartz gave numbers for responders per citizens in Taylorsville. It was noted that Taylorsville’s ratios are much lower than other cities.

Judge Michael Kwan gave explanation on court services and special court programs.
  1. Initiative #8: Volunteers, Staff and Resources
The need for additional volunteers in the City was cited, i.e. the Public Safety Committee, the Ordinance Review Committee, and the Arts Council.

The suggestion was made to initiate a regular day each month to gather volunteers and assign them to volunteer projects. It was recommended that information be placed on the city website and that ideas be submitted for project initiatives on the city website.  The idea of working with religious or church groups was presented. The Mayor described ways that the city currently works with church groups. The return value of a paid volunteer coordinator was cited.

The importance of establishing community councils in organizing neighborhood volunteers was noted. Ideas were discussed for incentivizing volunteers. Mayor Wall cited the Volunteer Appreciation event where volunteers are recognized and rewarded.

Rhetta McIff suggested that volunteers should help with improvements in the city for the “feel good” effect that serving inspires and to personally invest in their own community. Ways to inspire volunteerism were addressed.
  1. Initiative #9: Environmental
The importance of environmental factors was noted. Ways to improve environmental factors in the city were addressed, i.e. recycling; improving energy efficiency; maintaining clean energy; preservation of open/natural space. It was noted that the City Center is geo-thermal.
  1. Initiative #10: Arts, Culture and Entertainment
The importance of cultivating cultural arts and entertainment into Taylorsville was discussed. John Gidney cited the lack of a venue for monthly activities that are sponsored by the Taylorsville Arts Council. He referenced the positive impact of cultural activities on economic development and described ways of drawing people and revenue into the community. He cited Taylorsville demographics that contribute to the need for improved cultural activities. He listed ways that local events are advertised.  

Arts Council Chair Susan Holman noted that pricing is kept very reasonable for Taylorsville events. Gordon Wolf described the type of facility needed.

Input was given on public art, performing arts, neighborhood activities, community activities (i.e. Taylorsville Dayzz, Farmers Market, etc.) in the community.  

5. Closing Comments

Community Director Mark McGrath recognized the quality caliber of conversation during this meeting and praised the great ideas that were presented.

Chairman Rechtenbach recognized the valuable ideas that were discussed and invited those present to continue giving input. He noted that most ideas must be budgeted for and funded. He cited the large number of people that were invited to this meeting and the relatively small turnout. He asked that those present invite their neighbors to provide input and participate in city discussions.

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