Opinion

SOUNDOFF: Council's planning solutions

One of my major election promises was two-way communication and I stand ready to be a part of any two-way communication. I appreciate the differences in opinions and ideas. It is right and appropriate to think things through, but it is also extremely important to make sure as much of the information as possible is availed and accurate.

That said, there is a different board at the chamber of commerce, a different city council and city administration than there was for the most part four years ago. Yes, there are many past tourism studies. However, in the past it appears that other councils may not have been united behind those studies or plans. This city council is committed to economic development. If it takes starting at square one the members are willing to do so, but that does not mean all other information or studies are out the door and the wheel is being reinvented. It is learning and gathering from the past and forging the right future.

Never before in the history of this city have we had the business community and the city council and administration all marching down the same path together. I believe with this commitment we can accomplish the economic diversification. We can help work to provide jobs for students we are educating and graduating out of our local school system, as well as, for military spouses.

$49,000 is a lot of money. This council as a whole took deliberative time, researching and interviewing before going forward. The business community didn’t have that kind of money in the past to implement the studies that were developed. This process of working with Roger Brooks is different. It will take $4,500 of the $49,000 to work on assessing the situation as it is today. Then taking all of the past studies from Harbor Watch to Harbor Pride to the state 1998 Tourism package (which was site specific) and come up with a PLAN working toward workable SOLUTIONS, a real template with workable timelines, a how to and further. This would be done by working with community members, really pulling the past work together. It will mean listening and getting local government to work right alongside as a support, not as an obstructionist, with all of us working together toward the same goals.

This city council has been working at a special open advertised meeting every month to do what we can as the local governing agency to help in the tremendous resurgence that has started throughout Oak Harbor. The council has listened and implemented some initial important changes. Storefronts are full, investments in our community are happening. Setbacks such as one major bank leaving have turned into an opportunity for another bank and now another investor is involved with some of the remaining buildings.

It is time to benefit from some of the work that has been done to date. Pull everything together in a cohesive PLAN toward actual working SOLUTIONS. If each council member did not believe it could be done, they would not be committing their own time and energy into extra meetings each month. I know I would not. I believe in this community and I know I am going to continue to work hard at doing right by it. I take my elected position and its work seriously especially the fiduciary responsibility, as I know my colleagues do too.

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