Decatur Next

Decatur Diary | August 18, 2010

Broad Goals? We Got ‘Em.
Now, Let’s Talk Details.

Round Table discussions involving some 700 Decaturites, meeting three times between April and June, helped us identify key topics to address for our update of the city’s 10-year Strategic Plan. Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, when we welcome participants back for a Round Table Wrap-Up Celebration (6:30 p.m. at the Decatur High School Auditorium), we’ll use that consensus-based to-do list as a foundation for drafting development and redevelopment strategies for the next decade.

This postcard helped spread word of the upcoming meeting. Click for larger view.

“We couldn’t have hoped for more enthusiastic participation in the Round Tables,” says Lyn Menne, assistant city manager and head of Decatur’s Community and Economic Development Department. “Thanks to all those people who invested all that time, we have a solid base for the next phase of our strategic planning.”

That phase begins Aug. 24, when the City and its project team present the results of the Round Tables and introduce the consultant team and the plans for taking the community’s visions forward. We don’t want to spoil the excitement of those announcements, but if you want to take a look at reports from the three sets of Round Table meetings, go here. During Tuesday night’s gathering, we’ll sum up all that we learned.

Even if you’re just tuning into the process, it’s not too late to get up to speed or to take part in next steps. First, check out the project overview in the column to the right. That will give you the big picture. Then, you can follow each stage of the process in the stories posted prior to this one. They’re in reverse chronological order. And as you can see, we invite questions and comments at the ends of the posts. So even if you can’t attend events, you can keep up with progress no matter where you are.

For deeper background on Decatur’s strategic planning approach, go to Resources in the toolbar above. That’s where you’ll discover one of the open secrets of this planning effort: Decatur has already made this Round Tables-to-Results process work before in the Strategic Plan undertaken in 1998. The overwhelming majority (80 percent) of the items on the 2000 Strategic Plan action list were accomplished, which is a major reason why so many Decatur residents were willing to come together again for another round of collaborative strategizing.

“We know we achieved a rare thing in government,” says Menne. “We built a trusting relationship with citizens because we did what we said we were going to do. And we’re committed to the same follow-through for the new Strategic Plan.”

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