City staff review progress to date on city councils 2013 goals

by: JOSH KULLA - Increasing bicycle and pedestrian connectivity in Wilsonville is one of the city councils 2013 goals. For August, the progress so far this year is not bad.

While some may assume the formal goals set by elected bodies are primarily theoretical, they actually offer a relatively good look inside the collective mindset of a given group.

This is certainly the case with the Wilsonville City Council.

At a recent council meeting, City Manager Bryan Cosgrove made a point-by-point demonstration of progress on this year’s council goals. They range from completing a formal concept plan for the development of the Advance Road and Frog Pond areas, a massive task requiring plenty of help - and permission - from outside agencies such as Metro, to a strategic branding plan to help promote the city to businesses looking to relocate or expand.

“I just received word from Metro, and we did receive the grant to do the master planning,” Cosgrove said at the council’s Aug. 5 meeting, referring to a $300,000 Metro Community Planning and Development grant awarded the same week. “That is big news.”

Other steps toward developing the Frog Pond and Advance Road areas include progressing toward a new wastewater master plan, as well as an ongoing city housing needs analysis required by Statewide Planning Goal No. 10.

That’s just the start. Cosgrove went over the council’s eight formal goals at the meeting and marked off the various stages of progress in each.

The upcoming aquatic center task force and feasibility study planned for this fall is one of the higher profile tasks being undertaken by the city. The task force will come ahead of the study, noted city Parks and Recreation Director Stan Sherer.

“We’ll try to determine loosely before we get into the study,” Sherer said, “what the demand for services are and what a lot of those amenities might be that may or may not be included.”

Cosgrove said the major milestone will be the hiring of a consultant to conduct the feasibility study, hopefully before the end of the year.

Another key goal includes increasing the city’s bike and pedestrian connectivity between neighborhoods, commercial districts and other key areas in Wilsonville. To that end, the council recently adopted a new transportation systems plan, or TSP, for the city that identifies key gaps in the city’s transportation network.

“We have staff working on that at this time,” said Community Development Director Nancy Kraushaar. “But there’s no big work product that’s available yet.”

By October, she added, a more thorough action plan laying out key bike and pedestrian needs should be ready for council review.

A similar council goal — connecting “live, work and play areas” throughout Wilsonville — is also viewed as successful based on approval the city’s new TSP. This goal also is tied in with the ongoing planning for development in the Frog Pond and Advance Road areas.

In the area of economic development, the council set as a goal the reduction of vacant retail and other storefronts in Wilsonville. Cosgrove told the council that a market analysis consultant would need to address this task. He added this is not scheduled to take place before mid- to late-2014.

“It has to get into the next budget,” Cosgrove said. “We’re seeking a grant from state, and although nothing is being done at present, the chamber will be a partner in this study as well.”

Also on the economic development front, the council is looking to identify funding, likely by using urban renewal, for infrastructure and land aggregation in the Coffee Creek Industrial Area of North Wilsonville. The council hopes to complete this task within the next 18 months.

A related goal calls for the completion within 24 months of a concept plan for the nearby and even larger Basalt Creek Industrial Area. The latter will be accomplished jointly with the city of Tualatin, with whom Wilsonville now has an intergovernmental agreement to this end.

The council’s final goal calls on the city to create a strategic branding plan, complete with logo, to enhance economic development and business recruitment. Again, no funds have been specifically budgeted for this task for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

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