FULTON, Ill. — Strategic planning is a beneficial tool in growing and sustaining a municipality and Fulton’s elected officials are weighing their options on how to make the city as marketable as possible.
During a City Council meeting Monday, city leaders met with a strategic planning specialist who told them that in order to improve their town, they need to know where improvements are necessary.
“The main thing you want to start with is develop what we call an environmental scan,” Northern Illinois University master’s professor Dr. Gerald Gabris said. “You really want to find out what’s happening in the environment in Fulton.”
He suggested the council research what residents want to see, what business owners, current and future, are interested in, what civic leaders hope for and what city staff members feel can be improved in Fulton.
“It’s really invaluable because you can find out what they think the vision of the community should be,” he added.
In order to do so, however, the city would need to enlist the help of Gabris or a similar strategic planning specialist to conduct the research.
During a January meeting, the council met with MAPPING (Management And Planning Programs Involving Non-metropolitan Groups) Manager Gisele Hamm about a similar program offered through Western Illinois University.
One major difference between the two options was the use of volunteer opportunities within the city, something Alderwoman Barb Mask wanted to know more about from Gabris.
“I didn’t hear you mention about using volunteers throughout this process,” Mask said. “In your proposal do you include people from the community or only are they in the focus group process?”
During Hamm’s presentation, she emphasized the importance of volunteer efforts, something Fulton has relied on for many years, adding that the people of the community are who drive the outcome of the planning process.