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Public comment sought on Spirit Lake Community Wide Visioning

By Staff | Jan 24, 2008

There was no shortage of support for New Spirit of 2022, the Spirit Lake Community Wide Visioning process presented to the Spirit Lake City Council Tuesday night.

LaDene Bowen, senior project manager with the University of Northern Iowa Institute for Decision Making, Business and Community Services, explained the visioning process and what is to follow.

Bowen said community team members were selected July 2007. They included 14 citizens at large who met with three Planning and Zoning members and three city staff to discuss planning issues.

Phase I examines what the community will appear like in 15 years after the process began, or in the year 2022. Through the process of ‘future hindsight’, the team developed a household survey that generated 132 responses. That was followed by a public forum.

After the results were compiled, the team developed Phase II which includes a vision, circle of values, and community goals.

The circle of community values for the future includes:

n We value our natural environment, especially our lakes, and our community attractiveness — beauty, recreational opportunities, contribution to the economy and our identity and pride as a community.

n We value planned growth with policies, infrastructure, and other resources that strengthen our other strong community values for the future.

n We value excellent educational, cultural, social, and entertainment opportunities for all ages.

n We value economic opportunity — opportunities for businesses and for individuals and families, home ownership opportunities, expanding retail, inviting tourism, and overall affordability.

n We value civic and fiscal responsibility, community involvement and participation in decision-making and action.

n We value equitable development — continuing to make it better, and to use well, what we already have, along with growing and developing as a year-round community for residents and visitors.

“The natural environment is definitely a priority,” Bowen observed, noting its major significance among the six values. She said the next step is to tie the community comprehensive plan to the community-wide goals.

Councilperson Kevin Bice, who participated with the team, spoke enthusiastically about the plan.

“The comments were purely positive,” Bice said of the team’s discussions. “I truly endorse this. This is a strong part of our community. I truly want to see this move forward.”

Councilperson Clyde Ihrke said it was good to see people other than just the city working on the plan because of the perspective they might bring to the table.

In order to get as much public participation as possible, the council decided to post the plan on the city Web site before the city makes its final endorsement.

The public may review the plan on-line at www.cityof spiritlake.org.

Contact Michael Tidemann at (712) 362-2622 or mtidemann@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com