By Pat Shey
In looking back on the last eight years, the City Council has kept the same basic priorities: stronger neighborhoods, sustainable community planning, financial strength, economic growth, a regional perspective. Despite the changes in council members over the years, these priorities have changed little — and I believe we are now reaping the benefits of setting goals and priorities, and seeing them through to fruition.
My priorities are to continue with our momentum as a city, and to bring focus to these priorities:
l Neighborhoods. Landlords are now responsible for their tenants, and we are beginning to see the results with major investments in Wellington Heights and fewer police calls — and I will continue to improve this process.
Using the playbook for high-performing neighborhoods, we are helping to plan for neighborhood retail, amenities and connectivity that make neighborhoods more attractive, and encourage private investment and rising property values. We have begun work on a vacant housing ordinance that should encourage owners of vacant properties to invest — or sell — and not be a drag on neighboring homes.
Finally, I will continue to work hard with school board members to find issues of common interest. Strong core schools are absolutely vital for high-performing neighborhoods, and we are finding ways to work together on issues of mutual interest.
l Entrepreneurs. The cities that thrive are cities that encourage and foster entrepreneurs, and create wealth. We need to foster a culture that creates, collaborates and encourages. Some of our most entrepreneurial companies are locating near our core, because they like the downtown housing options, the vibrant arts and entertainment culture, the connectivity with other areas, the new restaurants — and are finding that those amenities attract and retain employees.
I applaud the city’s recent efforts to reach out to existing companies to see how we can help them expand and grow. Homegrown companies should be the driver of our economy — and our economic security — and we must never lose sight of that.
l Regionalism. Encourage our unique abilities as a city, within the broader context of our region. We are blessed with a strong manufacturing base — especially as it relates to agricultural-processing — a world-class community college, and a vibrant arts and entertainment environment.
To the south we have a world-class university and research institution, sports and other entertainment. The combined sum of this region creates a more attractive place to live and work.
l Planning. We have undergone extensive planning, from the Downtown Vision plan, to the Neighborhood Planning Process, and are reaping the benefit of those plans. We also have new plans for Ellis, Kingston, Wellington Heights and the Medical District. All have allowed input from the ground up, and we should continue civic involvement in these important processes — and stress the engagement and input of our citizens — and we must continue to execute on these plans.
l Infrastructure. Two top priorities are flood protection for both sides of the river, and reinvestment in our streets.
Pat Shey is the District 3 City Council incumbent. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org