Mayor leaves ‘vision’ to committee

POULSBO — Visioning discussions for Little Norway will continue even though the mayor’s office will no longer be at the front of those talks.

After the city council approved the creation of a long range planning committee Wednesday night, Mayor Donna Jean Bruce wasted no time in tasking it with the continuation of the visioning process that began in May.

“There has been some discussion that the visioning process is being done simply because it’s an election year,” Bruce told the council, adding that the process is important to the city’s future and is not politically motivated,.

“To get it out of election year politics, I have tasked the long range planning committee to handle the process with the consensus of the council,” she explained.

Bruce said assigning the task to the new group, which consists of one member from each of the council’s finance/administration committee, community services committee and public works committee, and the mayor, who will chair the committee, will streamline the process and increase public input.

“I think we’re on a roll and don’t want to lose the momentum we’ve got,” Bruce remarked.

Councilman Ed Stern applauded Bruce’s decision to pass the process on to a larger group.

“I think what the mayor has done is admirable because it would be easy to stay at the helm or at least be associated with it, if not take the credit,” Stern commented.

The effects of the visioning process will reach far beyond the current council and current mayor or even the next council and mayor, he predicted.

“This grand vision will affect us for the next 50 to 100 years and no one’s going to remember who we were, but they will remember what we did,” Stern explained.

Even though the visioning process has just begun, a tremendous amount of opportunity and work lie ahead for both the committee and city as a whole, said Councilman Jeff McGinty.

“This is going to be a huge, huge process by the time we get down to implementing things and it’s important that we keep it at a high level,” McGinty remarked.

While previous visioning workshops have highlighted parking garages and other details, a clear vision of what citizens want to see happen needs to be developed before taking the process to that level, he said.

“We can’t talk about parking garages or other things like that until we know what we want and having a facilitator would help keep it on that high level,” McGinty said.

Councilwoman Kathryn Quade echoed both Stern’s and McGinty’s assessment of the change and said she looks forward to seeing the committee’s work as it begins.

“I would hope the long range planning committee would meet soon,” Quade said. “I do like the overall presentation and look forward to where we go with it.”

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