After more than a year of discussions, the Ashland Town Council approved its first strategic plan at its February 16 meeting. The plan outlines a vision for the community and directs staff to pursue a variety of initiatives to help reach that vision. It also highlights several core values the council and staff will be expected to use as guideposts in the decision making process.
The strategic planning process began in late 2014 with the completion of the Town's second National Citizen Survey. Armed with considerable feedback from Ashland's citizens and data collected by town staff, the council met for a long Saturday meeting in February 2015 to begin discussing their vision for Ashland's future. That vision and subsequent initiatives would be shaped by five more public meetings included two more dedicated work sessions, input from more than 400 Ashland citizens and reviews by staff at every level.
"Ashland is a beautiful, historic and diverse community uniquely known as the Center of the Universe," the adopted vision statement reads. "Exceptional people and organizations gravitate to Ashland for our great neighborhoods, the thriving economy that meets their needs, excellent community amenities, and vibrant cultural activities."
To meet the aspirational ends of the vision statement, the council directed town staff to pursue 99 initiatives categorized by five main focus areas: Strong & Diverse Economy, Cultural Vitality, Community & Neighborhood Livability, Safe Community, and Responsive & Responsible Governance. Initiatives include restoration of the Ashland Theater, completion of the Trolley Line Trail, upgrades for the Carter Park Pool, and a commitment to transparent and trustworthy law enforcement.
With the strategic plan, the town council also adopted five core values to direct the decision making for the council, other town governing boards, and town staff. These include sustainability, community, integrity, equity and excellence.
The adopted strategic plan will be reviewed annually by the town council prior to the beginning of the budget process and revised as necessary. For more information, read the strategic plan linked to this story or contact the town clerk, Dallin Kimble, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 798-9219.