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City updating its 2006 strategic plan
SNOHOMISH - The city’s first-ever strategic plan adopted in 2006 is being updated, and the new version is scheduled to go before the City Council in May.
Residents had the opportunity to weigh in on the most current draft of the strategic plan at a community open house Feb. 11. About 40 residents attended and were able to review the overall vision, economic development manager Debbie Emge said last week.
Residents who spoke at the meeting were most passionate about creating neighborhood parks as well as connectivity between the different neighborhoods, Emge said.
“It was really interesting to see how important the connectivity was, not only to the city but between each other,” Emge said. Representatives from the historic residential district and Morgantown were present, which Emge said seemed to be the most organized of neighborhoods.
The next step will be for the city’s consultant, Berk Consulting, to compile residents’ comments for a presentation for staff Feb. 20. The council will have a work session to review the draft plan on March 19, followed by a fifth meeting of the citizens advisory committee (CAC) on April 4. The final plan will be presented to the City Council on May 7 for a vote.
The initial plan, which was adopted before the Great Recession, has seen some changes in priorities due to the change in the economic environment. The updated plan will pull back on defining its goals so narrowly.
“That plan was very detail oriented,” Emge said. “It called out really specific things. This time it’s a little more directional and will allow staff and council to make sure they’re working toward those goals, but allows flexibility in how they get them accomplished.”
In 2006, one of the main goals was to invest in city facilities and build a new city campus.
“That’s not as much of a priority as it was before; it’s definitely due to the recession,” Emge said. “Now we have more modest goals, and we’re more about supporting what we currently have.”
The original strategic plan was put together by the 19-member CAC. About half of the current members were part of the original committee and the rest are new, Emge said. The CAC’s members were appointed by the council.  
The current plan outlines seven goals and initiatives. They are as follows: to enhance the livability of Snohomish by working on things like park plans, trails and cultural diversity; to create strategic partnerships with community resources by leveraging schools as a community resource and working with transit services; to foster and support local entrepreneurism; to promote the city as a commercial and tourist destination; to connect to and leverage the Snohomish River by developing a city-owned boat launch and riverfront public space; to grow and sustain neighborhoods and centers by supporting downtown revitalization and increasing signage and gateway development; and to create a more sustainable city by developing a sustainability plan and connecting with the area’s agricultural heritage.
Emge’s position as economic development manager was created through the 2006 strategic plan.
“It’s really unique for a small town to have this position,” Emge said.
She said she’s been focusing on hosting higher quality events with a larger attendance to “have folks come visit Snohomish. I’m working hard on developing the craft alcohol niche.”


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