Trails, start-ups featured in city plan
Strategic Planning Committee approves long-range goals for Carroll
May 1, 2013
The City of Carroll strategic planning committee has made the development of the intra-city trail system a top priority. The proposed system would complement the existing Sauk Rail Trail that runs between Swan Lake State Park and Black Hawk State Park in Lake View. The trail passes through Rolling Hills Park on the south side of Carroll.
An accelerated timetable for development of an intra-city trails system and an ambitious approach to luring recent college graduates with start-up companies and entrepreneurial juice are among the more high-profile features of a long-range plan for Carroll developed by elected officials and citizens in recent months.
The Carroll Strategic Plan earned approval Monday night. It is a non-binding document designed to serve as a motivating guide for elected officials and their appointed boards and advisory panels in pursuing growth and progress for Carroll. The council is expected to consider the document on May 28.
The long-running No. 1 goal of the Carroll City Council in terms of capital projects has been improvement of the city's library facilities. The planning document sets a deadline of June 1, 2014 for the council to "develop" and "adopt" a plan for a library project. A public referendum, engineering and construction would have to follow before a new or improved library is available for use.
Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers said the target date is reasonable as much work remains to be done.
"We already had one round of this, and the ultimate decision fell on the council," Schweers said.
The path toward library-services enhancement should involve the council, mayor and Library Board of Trustees, the committee determined.
Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann said she's received input from a number of a citizens who don't want the library effort to involve any private fundraising as they believe such outreach for dollars cannibalizes the work of not-for-profit institutions in the Carroll area that rely primarily on contributions to function.
The planning committee set a March 1, 2014, deadline for development of a plan to construct a trails system in Carroll - one that would connect schools and major business areas to residential portions of the community and leverage the presence of the Sauk Recreation Trail.
The committee wants to see a needs assessment for the Carroll Recreation Center and a plan for developing U.S. Highway 71 gateway monuments completed by the summer of 2014.
Members of the committee also are calling for development of an ad hoc committee to get younger Carroll residents involved in city government, as members of boards and commissions and potential candidates for office, but also simply as voters as recent analyses of turnout in city elections show paltry participation from voters under 50.
On finance matters, the committee recommends that Carroll take advantage of current low-interest rates and debt to accelerate capital projects.
One member of the committee, Michel Nelson, vice president and senior trust officer with Iowa Savings Bank in Carroll, successfully worked for the inclusion of a goal to attract entrepreneurs. The strategy will be to create an organization in Carroll that reaches out to colleges and graduate schools and other places where talented young people are concentrated with an eye toward recruiting them back to Carroll where they can pursue start-up ventures, possibly working part-time at cooperating existing businesses. Nelson said Carroll has the commercial space to host start-ups, solid mentoring and the presence of businesses that could be willing to offer flexible hours as entrepreneurs, working long hours in second jobs, take their ideas through the fledgling to viable stages.
Members of the City of Carroll Strategic Planning Committee included: Dr. Scott Richardson, Planning and Zoning Commission; Fire Chief Greg Schreck, a city building official; LaVern Dirkx, Carroll school board; Rob Cordes, Carroll schools superintendent; John Steffes, Kuemper Catholic Schools Foundation director; Jim Gossett, Chamber and Carroll Area Development Corp. (CADC) executive director; Jim Auen, CADC vice president; Steve Schulz, Des Moines Area Community College and CADC president; Mark Beardmore, Carroll County supervisor; Michel Nelson, Carroll Foundation; Chad Jensen, New Opportunities; Jair Mayhall, Chamber; Ed Smith, St. Anthony Regional Hospital and CADC; Rhonda Mart, New Hope Village and CADC; Douglas Burns, Daily Times Herald and CADC; John Ryan, Carroll Broadcasting; Paul Milligan, CADC; Tom Langel, Good News Book & Gift Store.
Brian Licht, St. Paul Lutheran Church; Schweers, Siemann, Dr. Eric Jensen, Gerald Clausen, Laura Schaefer, Randy Krauel, Jeff Cayler, Jack Wardell and Kelly Fischbach, City of Carroll; Tom Louis, Library Board of Trustees; Chris Whitaker, Region 12 Council of Governments; Mike Franey, Mid-Iowa Insurance & Real Estate and CADC; Matt Greteman, Art Neu and Wayne Seaman, CADC.
R.T. Schreck, agriculture; Dale Schmidt, Carroll schools teacher; C.J. Niles, American Cancer Society; Dr. John Carroll, McFarland Clinic; Dave Quandt, American Home Shield; John Munson, St. Anthony Regional Hospital; and Rosanne Nees, Chamber.
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