By BRIAN SMITH
Results from the Strategic Plan Work Session were given to Weatherford city council members Tuesday night.
Consultant Marty Wieder with Strategic Consulting Services met with the council during a work session in early January to find out what they and city staff liked, disliked and saw as weaknesses during an analysis. The ratings given by council and staff were put together into a report with some ideas.
Wieder said the city’s top strength was its attention to customer service with a city staff “second to none” also considered a plus. Some of the weaknesses found included an underutilized downtown, aging infrastructure on its major thoroughfare corridors and insufficient staff to deliver certain services.
During the work session, it was determined opportunities could be taken advantage of in increasing revenue sources, exploring the First Monday grounds area as a potential concert venue and forming a citizens capital committee to get input from residents.
In his strategic plan proposal, Wieder outlined three objectives to continue the focus on during the coming fiscal year:
• Continuing to place a high priority on customer service – Wieder suggested hiring a consultant to conduct a citizen survey to see what they like or dislike about what’s being done or not done. Involving the citizens in the process is something residents will like and remember, Wieder said.
Getting a staff task force of city staff members together to review the status or the city’s utilities and infrastructure will also be helpful, Wieder said. Continuing the process with citizens will also show the city is interested in what residents have to say.
• Maintaining and expanding revenue sources – Establishing some sort of downtown entertainment district is paramount, Wieder said, in council and staff’s mindset. A new vision for the area based on the First Monday grounds and York Avenue is also very important if the city wants to continue improving, Wieder said.
Creating a citizen staff task force on the project would once again bring people into the mix, which is only a positive.
“People will always support what they helped create,” Wieder said. “Making the First Monday grounds more vibrant will not only benefit you but the citizens as well.”
In a related item, working with the Chamber of Commerce for better use of the tourism budget was suggested. Looking at what other cities are doing in the area and marketing attractions that benefit the city will bring more people from the Metroplex into Weatherford.
“There are a lot of people barely an hour or less from here that don’t know what you are doing here in town,” Wieder said. “That has to change.”
• Proactively protect and develop a healthy economic climate – In a continuing theme, partnering with the community was suggested to ensure higher standards when it comes to code enforcement. Wieder also said ensuring what is being done in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction supports what is already here in an effort to “protect and promote the culture of downtown.”
Wieder said at the end of his 25-minute presentation the thrust of any stragetic plan is to empower the city manager and staff and help them do what it takes to meet the ideas identified.
Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy said he was encouraged by the report, which wil be brought back to the council in a bound volume in the next few weeks.