GREENVILLE — Council members of this city gathered around the dinner table to break bread, but also to discuss a list of items they hope to address in the upcoming fiscal year.
Without delving too far into each topic and instead deciding whether it was something they hoped to consider in the 2014-15 fiscal year for the city, officials settled on more than two dozen potential projects.
From road and sidewalk projects to organizing community events, officials spent around two hours discussing the direction of the city.
One of the primary topics of discussion was economic development and the continuance of a potential plan for a partnership between Montcalm Alliance, which represents the entire county, and The Right Place, an economic development organization.
“We have had a continuous conversation on a plan and how to fund it,” City Manager George Bosanic said. “However messy it may be now, there seems to be some traction on the plan, but the question is how do we fund it.”
Bosanic said it is important for Greenville to be part of a drive to market the area to potential businesses, whether the county is able to secure funding for The Right Place, but said the ideal situation would be for a countywide collaboration.
“We give up control with having it at the county level, but that’s for the greater good and even for the city,” Bosanic said, adding everyone would benefit from attracting businesses to the county. But he did suggest that if the county could not come up with a plan, other options may have to be laid on the table.
“When all is said and done it may not be the county,” he said. “If things aren’t getting done it could be another jurisdictional authority.”
Another primary focus of the discussion was the possibility of organizing a community event honoring and thanking city employees, such as police officers, fire fighters and public works staff, for their efforts while also gathering the community together.
“The purpose of this is to engage the community,” said Frances Schuleit, mayor pro tem. She said she hoped to put on an event to show gratitude for city workers while allowing the public to get to know who they are and what they do.
Officials said such an event could be held at the potential open air structure downtown, which also made the list of goals for the upcoming fiscal year.
The downtown development authority continues to look into the feasibility of a structure downtown, with its focus recently shifting to locations, especially Lafayette Park and the parking lot behind.
Other potential projects discussed included a potential anti-discrimination ordinance, the feasibility of a dog park, hiring an assistant city manager, improving sidewalks and pursuing construction of three dams on Flat River. None of the topics discussed are set in stone, but instead were added to a list of potential ideas city staff and officials hoped to look deeper into in the coming year.
“I think this was a very productive meeting,” Mayor John Hoppough said as the meeting drew to a close. “We’ve done such a good job the past several years coming up with good goals for the city.”