Public Forums look at wide range of issues for city

As the city prepares for its annual strategic planning session and months of working on the budget, two Public Forums were held. The first was at Bonnie Brennan and the second at Washington School. Each time the set up was informal. The only problem for most participants was the loud sound of the heaters, on nights where the temperature was approaching zero.

It was revealed that a City Planner is on the way. She comes from Oregon and has experience in both code enforcement and neighborhood associations. There will be more information when we actually have this person on board.

A question about the library brought the reply that the city supports the library's search for larger quarters, but is waiting for a library plan to be brought forward. The excellent program has outgrown the current facility.

On tourism, Randy Bombardier, director of economic development and community services, said that where a city is sales tax dependent it needs to look at the travel industry. How can we get tourists to "linger?" Bombardier said that there is some momentum in the city for such programs.

Chris Mobley, of the recreation department, said that the Skateboard Park is still on the boards, but that an area is dedicated for it. The planning group needs its 501 C 3 tax status.

An area just east of the city is going to be cleaned up. Owned by the Navajo Nation, it has become a haven for street people and the Navajo government is cooperating with Winslow to get rid of this sea of bottles.

The Main Street Program was discussed at both forums. There is still no consensus among the city and citizen protagonists on the standards for moving forward.

John Roche, director of services, said that we are now on track with ADOT for a turnback of Route 66 streets in 2005. The state or the city can run the project, but it needs coordination.

One of the high priority items are new lights for Little League and Vargas fields. This is $500,000 project according to Scott Lancaster of the city staff. The city has put some money aside. Little League members are working on cooperative agreements with APS and Roche said this would make state grants easier to obtain.

The high speed data communication line and Homolovi State Park may both need further support this year in order to keep one of our greatest assets and move into 21st century communications.

The request for a grant writer was discussed and the idea for a community foundation, through which many causes could find funding was put forward.

The Housing Commission, an idea from last year's forums, is still a work in progress.

The next step for city council is to prioritize ideas in the strategic planning sessions.

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