Lacey City Council and staff members solidified short-term goals and laid a road map for the next decade while brainstorming Thursday evening at Lacey City Hall.
Along with adding five goals to the 2011-12 priority list, the council agreed to carry over 34 current priorities, including discussions to reduce the city’s business-and-occupations tax and finding a replacement for retiring City Manager Greg Cuoio.
Other short-term priorities added to the list:
• Funding a convention center feasibility study. Council member Jeff Gadman brought up the idea of a privately owned and operated center during the long-term visioning discussion.
• Installing a reader board sign at or near City Hall to inform the public about events and activities.
• Adding sidewalks in older areas near schools.
• Attracting families and high-end restaurants.
Other priorities already on the list include:
• Completing a water-rate study to address operating, capital and debt requirements. Lacey water rates increased 4 percent this year; city officials hope the study will lead to more rate stability.
• Conducting public process to develop a preliminary master plan and interim natural resource management for several properties, including the recently purchased 407-acre property near the Woodland Creek watershed. About $50,000 is needed to complete these tasks and address security and dumping issues. The public will be able to provide input starting this fall or winter with an open house.
Council members and staff directors came to the meeting with goals they want to see accomplished by 2020.
“Some of these longer-term ideas are going to take some time but they are worth the time,” Cuoio said before the discussion.
Numerous ideas were brought to the fore during the nearly two-hour session, including fishing piers on local lakes, improving and expanding transit service, realizing the vision of the Gateway project and additions or development on the Lacey Community Center and the Regional Athletic Complex sites. Cuoio also threw out some ideas, including expanding the police station and partnering with the YMCA to construct a facility at the Gateway site.
Discussion ended with nearly 90 long-term goals on slabs of butcher paper; council and staff members decided to hold off on narrowing down the list until some common ideas were lumped together.
The meeting revealed many commonalities in thinking, including the need for more trails and improvements for transportation, parks and sidewalks, many of which may need bond issues for implementation.
“I’m really impressed with these ideas,” Council member Andy Ryder said. “That is something we could really establish today, to make sure that if we accomplish some of these long-term goals we really have the amenities here to differentiate Lacey from the rest of the jurisdictions.”
Nate Hulings: email@example.com/outsideoly