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Tacoma’s Strategic Direction for 2014
On February 21 Tacoma's City Council met in a special all-day work session to discuss its strategic direction for 2014; that strategic direction includes equity and empowerment initiatives, investment in the South Tacoma Way and Lincoln business districts, green roads, and working with both immigrant populations and the larger employers in town.
The meeting was a chance for the Council to look back at accomplishments and challenges from 2013, and to look ahead to what it would like to see in 2014, 2015, and beyond. The process resulted in the identification of a strategic direction for 2014 that includes five overarching strategic policy priorities and eight more specific strategic objectives.
The Council's identified 2014 Strategic Policy Priorities, which are meant to inform Council decision-making on a higher level, look pretty familiar.
2014 Strategic Policy Priorities
- Strengthen and maintain a Strong Fiscal Management position.
- Strengthen and support Public Safety, Human Services, Public Education, and Diverse Higher Learning Opportunities in Tacoma.
- Foster Neighborhood, Community, and Economic Development Vitality and Sustainability.
- Plan for and improve Public Infrastructure that meets the Transportation needs of all Tacoma residents and visitors.
- Encourage and promote an Open, Effective, Results-oriented Organization.
Perhaps more interesting, because they're more specific and give an idea as to what those policy priorities could look like in action, are the Council's identified Strategic Objectives for 2014.
Strategic Objectives 2014
1. Implement a Community and Organization Equity and Empowerment Initiative: This objective builds on work that has already been done by staff looking at equity in our communities. Next steps for this year will dig a little deeper into policies and implementation. The Council included two specific initiatives under this objective. The first would be externally facing, having the City "Engage the community in an external initiative to ensure equitable access to foundational community assets with and between neighborhoods and populations. The second would look at internal City operations, building "internal capacity for equity and empowerment, including racial equity, into City of Tacoma policies, programs, initiatives, workforce and budget decisions."
2. Focus on development of the South Tacoma and Lincoln District Mixed Use centers. This objective will seek to leverage what's going on in those two neighborhoods now, and work to bring some version of the recent investment in Pacific Avenue to them. The Council would ultimately like to see that energy and investment brought to all of Tacoma's neighborhood business districts, pushing density, supporting investment, and driving people to the businesses there. These two were identified for focus first due to what the Mayor called their "good bones" - assets including history, commuter rail, strong businesses, proximity to neighborhoods, etc. The Council will be looking for ways for the City to support and enhance these neighborhoods.
3. Cultivate strong relationships with primary employers in Tacoma and leverage their presence to attract potential investors. This objective puts working intentionally with Tacoma's larger employers, old and new, front and center as a top priority for the City.
4. Develop a comprehensive Greenroads program to improve water quality and neighborhood infrastructure. The purpose of this objective is to leverage the potential of green development to kill two birds with one stone - getting new neighborhood roads while improving local water quality. In response to public dissatisfaction with the condition of roads in Tacoma, the Council will look for ways to build more roads like the already built Clay Huntington Way and other Tacoma Greenroads projects. Use of this kind of low impact development technique opens up the possibility of funding from other sources than what is available for traditional road projects.
5. Make Tacoma a ''Welcoming City" and cultivate an immigrant-friendly environment. The Council made clear that this objective is not about immigration policy, but rather is about how the City work with foreign-born people who choose to call Tacoma home. Inspired by efforts in cities around the country, the Council will be looking for ways to work with immigrants and show that their contributions to the community are valued. Immigrants are disproportionately likely to be entrepreneurial as compared with the rest of the American population, and Tacoma has a significant population of immigrants. Initiatives that provide access to English as a second language, business assistance, and other education opportunities to help immigrants integrate into the way businesses are run in the US, in Washington, and in Tacoma would help put Tacoma on the path to become a "receiving city" for immigrants coming in, who can become productive, empowered, and contributing residents.
Items 6, 7, and 8 are continuing objectives that saw significant action in 2013, but which all have more work ahead in 2014.
6. Make Tacoma more physically attractive (2013-2014).
7. Develop and implement a comprehensive transportation plan (2013-2014).
8. Develop and implement a marketing/communication campaign (2013-2014).
What do you think? Do these sound like objectives you can get behind?
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