Meridian’s strategic direction is essential to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding the expectations of our citizens. Our five-year Strategic Plan, which was adopted in December 2020, contains various initiatives based on our six focus areas: Responsible Growth; Transportation and Infrastructure; Public Health and Safety; Vibrant and Sustainable Community and Government Excellence. Our City’s leadership, staff and community partners participated in the creation of the plan and are working on its execution with the ultimate goal of being the premier community to live, work and raise a family.
The plan builds off of previous efforts. It encourages collaboration with our community partners. It helps us set a path for the challenges we face. It helps us stay focused on our vision, mission and values. And, we hold ourselves accountable to the plan as we regularly update our team, the City Council and you. Over the next year, we will provide you regular updates on how we are progressing in each of the focus areas, as we dive in to talk about each area in greater detail. Before we get into the details, it is important to provide a basic overview of the larger plan. Below is a short synopsis of each focus area to further acquaint yourself with the City of Meridian Strategic Plan for years 2021-2025.
First, we must grow responsibly, which means growing to our long-term Comprehensive Plan, and approving growth where it makes sense and where our infrastructure is connected. We work with our partners at ACHD and the West Ada School District to make sure that our roads and schools are keeping up with the influx of new residents. We have prioritized using Urban Renewal Districts in targeted areas to pay for infrastructure, and utilize impact fees to ensure a more proportionate share of service impacts are placed on new development. Our City’s Leadership is also looking for solutions in areas related to housing attainability, while keeping focused on quality and livable communities.
You have consistently shared in our citizen survey that we must act on Transportation and Infrastructure, so we have prioritized those concerns in our plan. We engage with our partners in the business community, legislature, ITD and ACHD to advance construction of arterial roadways. We plan for and prioritize safe and connected sidewalks to schools, parks and areas where the community connects. Our priorities also include expanding our pathway system, fixing gaps and ensuring continuous segments. Your safety is a top priority, which means we are also providing a plan for improved street lighting in areas that are underserved.
With our Business and Economic Vitality priority area we prioritized our changing downtown and target business growth in professional services, technology, health care and light manufacturing. We know these types of businesses pay the kind of wages that support families. Engagement with our business community is important to ensuring our existing businesses get the support and expansion tools that their sector needs. Using urban renewal in targeted areas in our Downtown and Ten Mile has given our business community the places they will need to expand and invest in our community. We are also planning for the future by collaborating on the future of our urban core and responding to floodplain concerns.
Meridian is one of the safest communities in Idaho and we are investing in our Public Health and Safety. On the Public Works side, we are investing in our water and wastewater services to enhance drinking water quality and to improve water that goes through our waste treatment facilities. We have prioritized reducing the impact on the environment, and maintained compliance with state and federal regulations. Our Police Department is committed to deploying resources to underserved communities to facilitate dialogue and build community trust. We have invested resources in our schools, business community and new facilities to improve traffic safety, public education and reduced property crime. Meridian’s Fire Department has identified improving response times through careful allocation of new fire stations, improving public education efforts, and community risk reduction efforts.
Meridian’s vibrant places are part of why we have emphasized a Vibrant and Sustainable Community focus area. We focus on innovatively designed parks, indoor facilities and open spaces. Our Parks Department is looking for ways to provide the most premier experiences, events and program offerings to enhance our community’s quality of life. We focus on preserving our historical heritage and identity, as well as establishing our future through engagement with our stakeholders. In order to have a community for generations to come, we also put an emphasis on sustainable, financially responsible, and environmentally conscious projects. We are committed to developing energy efficient programs, find innovative ways to recycle or reduce waste going to the landfill, and identify ways to conserve water resources in our high desert climate. Doing these things allow us to ensure a vibrant and livable community, for our children and grandchildren.
Finally, we commit ourselves at the City to providing you Government Excellence. Your tax dollars are a precious resource. Through our CARE values, we strive to provide you with an experience that is premier, no matter who or what you interact with. We provide accountable and transparent government through tools like Open Gov and an open budget process to see where your tax dollars are invested. We provide you with the ability to connect to decision-makers and give feedback to your community leaders through podcasts, town halls and Coffee with the Mayor. Our city is committed to continuously improving our processes by training employees to identify waste and solve key opportunities in their daily work, and interactions with our customers. Making systems work is a key challenge of our time, and we are committed to utilizing data to inform our decisions. We have made a commitment to our employees to provide them with the best training and workforce development opportunities, so they can provide you the best service, and they can become the best version of themselves.
If you are looking for more detail, I encourage you to check out the plan here, or you can sit back and wait as I bring an update on each of our six focus areas. Through this effort, I hope to give you a better understanding of the successes we have had in each area and the challenges we still face. I look forward to sharing with all of you!