Decatur Next

Decatur Diary | March 22, 2011

Completed and Approved!
10-year Strategic Plan Finalized

Decatur has its to-do list for the next decade.

On March 21, 2011, Decatur’s City Commission unanimously adopted the 2010 Strategic Plan, capping a year-long community discussion that engaged a record 1,500 Decaturites. The result is an ambitious update of the City’s Strategic Plan that will guide decision-making for the next 10 years and beyond.

“When we began this process back in the spring of 2010,” said Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd, “we set expectations high, both for the plan and for a process that would involve as many of our citizens as we could. And I have to say we exceeded those expectations.”

You can download the approved Strategic Plan here. And by reading the posts prior to this one, you can follow each step in the process that led to the final Strategic Plan, from the agenda-setting Round Tables in the spring of 2010 through the Community Academies and Open Houses in the fall and winter.

The Round Tables helped the community establish four broad principles:

  • Manage growth while retaining character;
  • Encourage a diverse and engaged community;
  • Serve as good stewards of the environment and community resources; and
  • Support a safe, healthy, life-long community.

While many communities might be able to come up with similar guiding principles, the Decatur process went further. Together — the city, citizens, and the consulting team — committed to drilling down more deeply to identify 16 goals inspired by those principles and to assert specific tasks in support of each goal.

It’s a formula for accountability. And it’s been tested already by the City. Decatur set goals and tasks for its 2000 Strategic Plan. By the time planning for the 2010 update rolled around, staffers could point to a record of having accomplished more than 80 percent of the items on that to do list. Which goes a long way towards explaining why so many folks in town were ready to do it all over again in 2010.

“I know that the community has confidence in this Strategic Plan update,” said City Manager Peggy Merriss. “That’s because by the time we got to the end of the process, there was agreement about what we want to do and be as a city.

“Lots of people participated from the beginning,” said Merriss, “and they knew they could trust that what will happen is going to reflect what they’ve told us is important. It’s a great way to do business as a city government. The trust you build by being responsive frees you to be ambitious. As a community, we can push ourselves to do more because we can trust one another to do it right.”

On our way. See you back in 2020!

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  1. A great process. A hearty “thank you” to the hundreds of Decatur residents, business owners and committed friends who made it possible.

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