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Forward Thinking

Welcome to Dallas: 2030 vision is taking shape

A revitalized downtown is one of the main objectives in the Dallas 2030 plan, which is up for approval soon.

Photo by Jolene Guzman

A revitalized downtown is one of the main objectives in the Dallas 2030 plan, which is up for approval soon.

December 18, 2013

DALLAS — The city of Dallas is about to approve a plan community leaders are calling a "road map" for the next 17 years.

Dallas 2030, a months-long project, is drawing to a close, with the city council's anticipated approval next month.

"We are going to base decisions we make on this for years to come," said Dallas City Manager Ron Foggin, a strong proponent of the plan, which includes goals not just for the city, but schools, businesses and service organizations.

Dallas 2030 launched in January, when the city hired consulting firm Zenn Associates to help community members work through what they hope to see established in Dallas by 2030. Zenn Associates gathered input through surveys and workshops to craft a six-page document outlining a vision for Dallas' future.

Foggin said the project — which cost about $50,000 — provided something else: an identity.

"I thought the community had lost its identity," he said. "We were really flailing, from the city's perspective. Nobody knew where we needed to go. This gives us strategic direction."

Dallas 2030 is divided into six parts: an overall vision and goals, plus five individual categories — community and identity, economy and jobs, education and learning, growth and development, and health and safety.

Park development and usage are key components in Dallas 2030

Photo by Pete Strong

Park development and usage are key components in Dallas 2030's "health and safety" goals. Here, workers install part of the Rickreall Creek Trail.

Community and identity

This portion of the plan has Dallas keeping its small-town charm and quality of life while developing some of the amenities typically associated with larger towns.

Among the objectives is a "vibrant downtown," thriving tourism, cooperation between government and business, and, seemingly most important, civic engagement.

Economy and jobs

An active business climate, well-trained workers, and good business recruitment strategy are key to Dallas' vision of its economy in 2030.

Increased involvement in wine and beer industries are part of Dallas 2030

Photo by Jolene Guzman

Increased involvement in wine and beer industries are part of Dallas 2030's "growth and development" plans.

Partnerships also are critical as many objectives require cooperation between the city and businesses, the schools and businesses, and the city with other local governments. Situated in wine — and perhaps someday beer — country, the city wants to find ways to be involved in those growing industries.

Education and Learning

Dallas has high hopes for excellence in education and growth in innovative learning opportunities by 2030.

West Valley Hospital recently completed an upgrade of its facilities, including its surgery suite, above, as part of long-term plans to offer more services to area residents.

Photo by Pete Strong

West Valley Hospital recently completed an upgrade of its facilities, including its surgery suite, above, as part of long-term plans to offer more services to area residents.

The goal is a system that develops "well-educated, well-rounded students," and it starts early with expanded preschool and kindergarten programs.

The city wants to see partnerships between schools and businesses for job training and expansion of innovative programs. A community that supports those schools, both financially and through volunteerism and attendance at events, also is a prime objective.

Growth and development

Dallas wants to see growth, but not so much that the city loses its small-town feel. Strategic development of commercial, industrial and residential land will be crucial to that objective, according to the vision. Protection of resources — mainly water — and upgraded utilities, including broadband and wireless access, will also be necessary.

In 17 years, the city would like to see its historical downtown well on a path to restoration and revitalization.

Health and safety

Dallas 2030 has several ideals to live up to in the realm of health and safety, including police and fire with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and government, non-profit groups and faith-based programs that are responsive to all in need.

West Valley Hospital will play a prominent role in accomplishing those goals. The hospital recently updated it surgical facilities and has a growing number of specialists scheduling appointments in Dallas.

"I think it serves both of us in making sure those services are available," said Bob Brannigan, WVH administrator, adding that he appreciated that the city was planning for the future. "This way we have an opportunity to mold the future. And that feels good."

What now?

Foggin said once Dallas 2030 is approved he will urge the city council to begin prioritizing plan objectives and craft a strategic plan to accomplish the hefty task before it.

He said there is some momentum already, with well-established partnerships with local governments and street improvements complete downtown.

The last thing needed now is to put Dallas 2030 on a shelf to become just another unattainable wish list, in Foggin's opinion.

"We spent good money on this," he said. "We can't sit back and let this become a dust collector."

For more information on Dallas 2030, go to www.dallasor.gov.