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Strategic planning session set for today

By Staff | Dec 1, 2010

City council members attending today’s strategic planning session will be asked to help shape the big picture vision for the Cape by answering a unique question: “If someone from Mars visited Cape Coral, what would they see (or sense)?” according to material posted on the city’s website.
Whether Cape council members will be able to envision the perceptions of mythical extra-terrestrial beings is unknown, but they likely will develop their own ideas about the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — or SWOT — while they formulate their strategic goals for the year ahead.
Last year’s strategic planning session found economic development to be the most vital goal in city council’s purview, and this year will likely be the same.
City council had its share of ups and downs when it came to economic development this year.
While some were positive — like the Veterans Investment Zone and proposed U.S. Army Reserve Center — others were lightning rods of controversy.
Two high profile projects ultimately rejected by city council — the Olympic Swim Center and the San Souci development — resulted in in bitter resentment for a myriad of reasons throughout the community, the latter project even the focus of a lawsuit.
Councilmember Pete Brandt said he was hoping that a comprehensive build out plan would get its own attention this year instead of being folded under the umbrella of economic development, but added that economic development “was still a high priority.”
Brandt said he felt the council still could improve its economic development achievements.
“It’s all still a work in progress, but I think the emphasis has been in the right places,” Brandt said, mentioning the VA Clinic and the possibility of widening Pine Island Road. He added, “I think we’re doing what we can.”
Councilmember Marty McClain said, too, that economic development should remain at the forefront of council’s goals, but
“I don’t feel this council has contributed as much as it could have,” McClain said. “We still have an obligation to do any and everything in our power to work those who want to come into our city and establish a business.”
Mayor John Sullivan could not be reached for comment.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said she did not know who placed the Martian question at the top of the “important components” list, but did say it likely was to be “strategic jargon used in planning”.
“That may be jargon used in these type of events,” Barron said. “It could just be part of the process.”
City Council’s Strategic Planning Workshop is today, beginning at 8:30 am, at the Hampton Inn at 619 S.E. 47th Terrace.
As are all council meetings dealing with public business, the session is open to the public