Members of the Lodi Common Council provided feedback on a proposed strategic plan for the entire community at its last meeting on Aug. 17.
It’s still a work in progress, as suggestions for a name – now known as Lift Up Lodi – were bandied about. Mayor Ann Groves-Lloyd wanted to make sure everyone understands that it’s not just a city initiative.
“Now, I will say this was not done with the intent that this is the City of Lodi’s strategic plan,” said Groves-Lloyd. “The committee that did this is much broader than the City of Lodi, because there are a lot of people who call Lodi home who may not be city residents. So, we had people involved in this who live in the town, who maybe own businesses in the city, but it was a group of 20-some people who are really passionate about our community.”
A draft of the plan was reviewed by the common council, with the provision that a resolution on the matter will be brought back to the body in September. Groves-Lloyd expressed interest in presenting the strategic plan to the Town of Lodi, the Village of Dane and the Town of West Point for their feedback.
The mayor gave details on the process behind the strategic plan. A year ago, Groves-Lloyd forwarded a proposal to create a Lodi strategic plan to the common council, which did not grant its approval for the city to do the work.
Over the winter, Groves-Lloyd secured private funding for the strategic plan, co-sponsored by Council President Rich Stevenson. A committee of around 25 people was formed in May and met three times in June to work on the plan.
“From my perspective, there was so much energy in that room,” said Groves-Lloyd.
A community survey was also sent out to residents for their input. A total of 97 responses were received.
At a retreat in July, the committee met to go over three questions related to the plan. One had to do with the core values of the community. Another dealt with what makes Lodi unique, and the third considers how to preserve its character and traditions.
The draft of the plan has yet to be shared with the committee. Groves-Lloyd said she was hoping the common council would give its blessing to the plan. The mayor said the committee will meet again to go over timelines and other details.
The mission of the plan says, “Lodi provides a safe, welcoming small-town environment, with easy access to hiking, biking and lakes all within close proximity to big city amenities.”
Meanwhile, the plan’s vision statement says, “By 2025, we will grow the number and diversity of residents to bring alive our rich history, culture, and values.”
There are two goals. One is to create an open, sustainable Lodi. The second is to preserve the community’s character and traditions.
Council Member Peter Tonn wanted it made clear that “an open, sustainable Lodi” is a statement about economic vitality and does not refer to a green initiative.
“Otherwise, [the plan] articulates why I live here,” said Tonn.
Strategically speaking, the plan advocates the creation of a media and marketing campaign to “… unify and strengthen our brand and engage residents.” Also, it establishes a day of service, scheduled for May 4, 2022, that partners school and faith groups. Council members also advised that other service organizations be added to that partnership.
The plan also calls for offering incentives for businesses to move to the community through tax, facility and marketing support, along with consolidating events to give visitors reasons to stay longer.
To preserve the local character and traditions, a short list of infrastructure projects will be developed through a “new values” lens and by defining funding needs. Additionally, incentives will be available to drive new multi-family developments to create green space, while a new program to welcome new residents will seek to demonstrate Lodi’s traditions and values, as well as its generosity.
Other names for the initiative were brought up, as the committee looks to bring the plan to other surrounding communities close to Lodi. Among them was the Peaceful Valley Strategic Plan. Another was the Lodi Valley Strategic Plan.
Temporary increase, EOP and rate studies
After meeting in closed session, the council approved a 5% temporary increase in compensation for the deputy clerk and treasurer during the vacancy of the city administrator position.
Also, the council passed a fund budget amendment to have Ehlers prepare a wastewater user rate study update for $2,500.
The council also approved an updated Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Groves-Lloyd said that a year ago, after she was elected, it became apparent that the city had not reviewed its EOP since 2012 and said it was something she was nervous about after the flood of 2018. Russ Schafer was appointed as emergency management director last summer, and he and the leadership committee has worked on the EOP for the last year.
New Life Church addition approved
The council approved a certified survey map and land division for New Life Christian Church in preparation for a proposed addition and parking lot improvements.
A small neighborhood church that is located close to the Lodi Elementary School, New Life Church’s proposal aims to improve Americans with Disability Act accessibility.
Church President/Pastor Mitchell Falk wrote in a letter to the city plan commission, “The reason for the change of the current property is the intent to add on to the existing building at 310 Millston Avenue. The addition is to the south of the current structure. The addition would allow us to provide handicap accessibility to the sanctuary. We would also be able to convert the current entry into two handicap accessible bathrooms on the main level. The addition also includes a fellowship and reception area. This would allow us to meet the physical and ministerial needs of those who currently attend and some who are not able to attend because of the current structure and access points.”
Prior to going to the common council, the city’s plan commission approved the plan, which expands the church’s lot to add a chunk from another lot it owns to the south and east.