A group of city officials gathered for an afternoon meeting on Monday to discuss future planning for the city of Brainerd.
Brainerd City Council President Mary Koep, council members Bonnie Cumberland and Bob Olson and city engineer Jeff Hulsether met in the conference room of city hall with the intent of what Olson called, “planning for making plans.”
Koep presented those in attendance — missing from the group was Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek — with an idea of framework for strategic planning. In it, Koep suggested future plans regarding city improvements be placed in the subject column, with feasibility, economics, cost benefit and options and measure to be applied.
“As ideas come up, we can plug them into this framework and see if it’s a way to help us decide where to go,” said Koep. “We’re talking about a process. But I think this is a process that we can use that will really be effective in our strategic planning for the city and our citizens.”
Cumberland, who was on the future committee designed in 2009 to work on long range planning for the city, said with two new council members coming in and a new city administrator, a framework would be an especially good idea.
“We know for a fact that we have two new council members coming in and what a wonderful piece of information to provide for them,” Cumberland said. “Whatever else happens, this (framework) helps give us an idea of where we’re heading and how we’re going to get there.”
Hulsether said he agrees the idea is great, but to make any type of planning work it will take more than a framework and the small group of officials brought together Tuesday.
“We’ve had difficulty having the council buy into our plans and the public too,” said Hulsether. “So I think any process we use, unless we get the public to buy into it and the officials to buy into it, we’re wasting our time.”
Koep said if nothing else, the framework will make their plans more understandable to a broader range of people and help address issues and answer questions that can be brought up by the public and city officials.
The group decided that the layout for framework for future strategic planning will be brought to council, with their choice on when to pursue action to officially implement the framework at a council meeting to be determined.