Issaquah wants its citizens’ vision for the city’s first strategic plan. For the rest of March, the city will be working to collect feedback from residents on the recently completed draft strategic plan.
As part of the city’s long-term planning effort, the development of a strategic plan is intended to create guidelines to achieve goals held by the city and citizens. The plan will be a guide for how to allocate the budget to accomplish the community goals outlined within.
The draft plan is focused on six elements that make up the citizen priorities: mobility, growth and development, environmental stewardship, social and economic vitality, infrastructure, and city services.
At the March 11 council committee work session, the councilmembers discussed the current plans to engage with the community to get feedback on the draft plan. The draft strategic plan is publicly available on the city’s official website alongside a survey for residents to give input.
The survey gives a context statement and an outline of objectives for each of the six priority areas.
Councilmember Lindsey Walsh said she supported the draft plan but was concerned the survey itself would not be useful to the community or provide helpful information to the city. Walsh wanted some more focused questions based on specific elements of the plans.
“I don’t feel like an open-ended statement box underneath each of the goal areas is going to get us useful information,” she said.
The rest of the council, including Councilmember Chris Reh, agreed that the open-ended nature of the survey does not engage the people taking the survey on the specific action items that are part of the plan.
“We talked very specifically about including action items, and the intent was so we could get a sense of what people thought about specific groupings of action items, and I don’t see how this does that. So it’s really, from my perspective, not what we directed be done,” he said.
In response to the council’s concerns, Councilmember Paul Winterstein asked sustainability director David Fujimoto to explain how the survey was designed. Fujimoto said it was designed to balance the number of questions against the necessary details required to inform the reader. The current format encourages the reader to read the content to make more informed, qualitative comments, he said.
The community engagement phase of the project will run until the end of March. In early April, the council will continue working on the draft plan with the data collected by city staff. The council will review and is expected to adopt the final strategic plan in May.
Both the draft plan and the survey are available in the community news section of the city’s website at www.issaquahwa.gov.