The art of picking priorities for city of Red Wing
Red Wing City Council is working to transform the recently approved 2040 Plan into tangible, achievable steps to improve Red Wing during the coming years.
Kay Kuhlmann, the council administrator, explained to the council Tuesday night, "We can't initiate everything in the first year because we would just slow everything down so we asked you to identify your priorities and then that helps us build a work plan. So in the next three years our focus in the budget, in where we spend our discretionary time, is going to be on your priorities."
The strategic plan has 76 items pulled from the 2040 Plan. Each item falls into a category such as housing, land use and the built environment.
Each council member was able to mark which items they wanted to focus on in the coming years. Housing, public safety, the economy and the environment were some of the areas the seven-member council and Mayor Sean Dowse highlighted.
"We had six in housing, so that tells me that housing is really a top priority," Kuhlmann told those gathered.
Once Kuhlmann was done presenting the matrix to the council and the audience, those gathered were given a chance to speak to the selected priorities.
Kuhlmann explained, "I know that there's a lot of our arts fans in the audience and that is something that we have probably heard the most on from any advocacy group, that this is really important. And it's important because it touches our economy, it touches our infrastructure, it touches our environment."
Everyone who spoke did so in favor of the arts in Red Wing.
Michael Anderson attended the meeting with a bag of homemade signs, attached to paint sticks, that read "arts and culture." Anderson told the council:
"I have been harrassing city councils for 30 years. And I expected some of the same tonight and I have to tell you, you have completely blown me away. Because every item that you selected is one that I have to look at and say, 'my god, it's a visionary city council.' I am not kidding you. I appreciate that so much."
In attendance were directors of some of Red Wing's largest art organizations.
"I am here to again express our gratitude, let you know that we are here to partner with the city and with the other arts organizations to help move this forward and I really look forward to where this can take the community," said Emily Guida Foos, the director of Red Wing Arts.
Stephanie Rogers, the Anderson Center's director, said she was "particularly impressed by the very broad scope of how you're defining arts and culture. I am here in Red Wing because I believe that the images we see, the songs we hear, the stories we tell ourselves the food we eat and so much more have a profound impact on how a community defines who belongs, whose voices are amplified, and what seems possible."
There are numerous things that the council would like to achieve in the next three years; goals ranging from maintaining quality equipment for the police and fire departments to increasing organic composting in the city. However, Kuhlmann realizes that it may not be possible to achieve each goal.
"We do have some uncertainty with our budget. We are not sure exactly what's going to happen with property values so this strategic plan may be heavy on studies if our budget doesn't work as well as we anticipate."
If the council completes studies for projects, the projects can be initiated as soon as the required funding is acquired.