In an effort to develop a roadmap for city projects and priorities, the City of Edmonds will kick off a city-wide Strategic Planning process the evening of Sept. 14, and citizens are encouraged to attend.
The workshop (also known as Retreat #1) will involve members of the Edmonds City Council, Planning Board and Economic Development Commission and will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 250 5th Ave. N. The retreat and strategic planning process will be facilitated by Tom Beckwith of Beckwith Consulting Group.
The proposal to develop a strategic plan is one of six recommended higher priority initiatives that the City’s Economic Development Commission and Planning Board presented to the City Council in early 2010. To frame the issue, Community Services and Economic Development Director Stephen Clifton sent out a press release to describe not only what a strategic plan is, but what it is not. What follows is his message:
“The foundations of strategic planning are statements the City makes that describe WHO we are, WHERE we want to go, HOW we will strive for our goals and MEASURE success over time. While the City of Edmonds plans on many levels, primarily for elements tied to the City Comprehensive Plan, and while these elements involve strategic planning for particular areas, an overall city strategic plan is different: It serves as a community’s roadmap and is used to prioritize initiatives, resources, goals, and department operations and projects. As such, it helps prioritize and organize efforts based on community consensus within an observable and trackable timeline. In this way, a strategic plan guides near-term progress towards achieving long-term visions.
“Having an adopted strategic plan is as important to a community’s future as architectural plans are to building a home. A Strategic Plan is a crucial tool for city decision makers and can be used to shape decisions by establishing a framework for setting priorities and informing leadership about citizens’ priorities. It is a tool that helps ensure the most effective use of a city’s limited resources by focusing the resources on key priorities. Developed in concert with its citizens and various stakeholders, a strategic plan helps city leaders allocate limited resources to programs that matter most to a community.”
Following the Sept. 14 retreat, the City and its consultants plan to engage the entire Edmonds community in developing a strategic plan over a nine-month time frame. “Establishing a process that ensures broad community input is essential to the credibility of a strategic plan and its success,” Clifton said. “By conducting interviews, hosting open houses and workshops, meeting folks one-on-one, and conducting surveys, the City is hoping to use community input to develop a strategic plan that helps city leadership to make decisions with the confidence that they are responding to the citizens’ stated desires.”
In addition, Clifton said, the City will develop web pages devoted to the strategic planning process and will also post notices of community meetings and related events on the City’s government television channel.