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Village Vision News

Final strategic planning session held

Thursday, October 15, 2015

In this the second of two return appearances before the board, Michael Hoffman of Teska Associates, Inc., made a presentation at the Oct. 5 board meeting. The meeting, held again in the community room of Forsyth Public Library, was to finalize the village’s strategic plan.

The strategic plan draft, which he presented, is a five-year plan covering 2015-2020. It is one that should be referred to occasionally in a formal way, he said. He defined the strategic plan as something short-term that requires immediate action. The goal of the evening was to read the draft and then incorporate any desired changes.

“You should take this document out quarterly or every half-year and review it and see how we’re doing on it,” was Hoffman’s final recommendation to trustees near the end of the meeting.

Much of the plan’s focus, Hoffman said, was on economic development because that was what most participants in the previous August workshop believed should be high on the village’s list of priorities over the next several years. He said that Village Administrator David Strohl was instrumental in forming the content of the document.

The plan includes seven economic development goals that include:

Business recruitment and attraction, business retention and expansion, economic development incentives, marketing and promotion, tourism, a business-friendly environment and a regional approach to economic development.

“Forsyth is part of the larger Macon County/Decatur region and not a stand-alone community,” Hoffman said with regard to taking a regional approach to economic development.

“We want to be cooperative with surrounding communities,” he added. “We’re not in an isolated situation here. What’s good for Decatur is good for Forsyth.”

With regard to residential development, a major concern mentioned during the first session was a lack of affordable homes for younger families. To that end, one goal identified was to “expand housing options within Forsyth by attracting development of new homes in the $125,000 to $200,000 range” and to “secure a developer for Prairie Winds within 5 years.”

A partial listing of other priorities included: Promotional materials, incentives, etc. to attract new retailers, a new gas station/convenience store, a new sit-down restaurant, work closely with Hickory Point Mall owner to retain/attract tenants, work closely with EDC of Decatur and Macon County to expand job growth and to expand service offerings to residents including a grocery store.

Hoffman said he would go back to work adding in the final changes.

“We’ll tweak the document,” he said. “And, we’ll have something for you to approve in a couple of months.”

The session lasted about two hours, adjourning at 8:25 p.m.

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