Lacey adopts ‘blueprint for the future’

goals: Include plans to improve bus service, add trails

May 20, 2011 

Lacey’s future took center stage and became a bit clearer Thursday night as the city council agreed on its strategic goals for the next decade.

During a work session, the council adopted a list of 54 goals they’d like to accomplish by 2016. The list includes continuing to pursue the visioning of the Gateway project, encouraging Intercity Transit to establish regular service in northeast Lacey and adding trails and fishing piers in the city.

“This is a blueprint for the future,” city manager Greg Cuoio said.

Including short-term goals, the city now has 98 goals to accomplish by 2020. Some of the adopted strategic goals for 2011-2016 include:

 • Evaluate the financial feasibility and cost-benefit of reducing or eliminating septic systems.

 • Develop a facilities and financial plan for the expansion of the police station at City Hall.

 • Study feasibility of placing all overhead utilities underground.

 • Highlight culturally diverse communities and businesses through community events.

The list didn’t come without questions and discussion. Council members had questions about benefits of having a YMCA in the city and its competition with other clubs, funding for the projects and the discussion of reducing or eliminating the B&O tax.

Councilwoman Cynthia Pratt said she had concerns about reducing or eliminating the B&O tax, but Cuoio said the goal was to evaluate the options and benefits of reducing the tax, which brings in about $1.8 million annually.

In terms of funding, Cuoio said some require spending upwards of $100,000 for studies or master plan development, but that there isn’t anything on the list that’s too steep in price.

The list will be broken down again into what projects can be done quicker than others; council decided to hold that discussion for a later meeting.

The council then looked at 16 additional projects, two of which dealt with additional construction near the Regional Athletic Complex, including a public-private partnership for a hotel or restaurant, and additional sport fields and support facilities.

Councilman Andy Ryder wanted to give the development of the 4.5 acre parking lot a higher priority but Cuoio said parking is a challenge at the site and also mentioned other issues with developing the land.

“I think that’s a great piece of property,” Ryder said, adding a restaurant or sports bar would do well in the area.

After some discussion, both RAC goals were put into the 2017-2020 goals.

Some ideas, such as exploring bus tours of historic areas, were removed from the list because other agencies already had similar ideas.Others, like such as expanding the community center and encouraging saltwater attractions, were put into the 2017-2020 plan because of funding hurdles or need to revaluate plans.

Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 nhulings@theolympian.com

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