For the past few weeks, we’ve been asking Scottsdale residents to share their aspirations and hopes for the city as it enters a new era.
We’ll continue asking, and the more we do the more we’re likely to hear answers that come down to a few common themes:
The desire to unite the city under a shared, inspiring vision and the willingness to embrace change that builds on the values that have made the city such an appealing destination for residents, workers and visitors.
It’s up to residents to make it clear that they expect city leaders to deliver on those goals.
A few examples.
Jen Sydow of Scottsdale Community College hopes that leaders “will embrace their role for change and continue to work together to accomplish the vision and values that citizens desire. Together, as colleagues in our community, we position ourselves to view our work with renewed purpose, greater creativity and a sense of urgency … If we recognize the importance of adopting an equity-minded approach to leadership, and facilitating greater inclusion, we can come together as a city and achieve the ultimate goal of Scottsdale’s General Plan: reflect a coherent vision of hopes, dreams and aspirations of a diverse population.”
Julie Cieniawski, governing board vice president for the Scottsdale Unified School District, hopes that “our leaders and residents mutually partake in a reflective process and act accordingly to come together as a community and acknowledge that our current actions impact our future … our future includes lots of questions that are best answered by each of us individually and then put into action collectively as residents and by our leaders.”
They both nailed it. Our values and dreams are personal; and where they come together, we find ways to work with each other to make them happen.
Scottsdale residents for a long time have embraced some shared values that make the city unique: Incredible geographic diversity, international reputation for tourism, a remarkable level of community services, high property values and among the lowest taxes of any city in the Valley.
We’ve been paying a lot of attention to the city’s General Plan process. If it achieves its primary goal it will be a visionary path to how the city evolves and grows while protecting the values that make it special.
It’s a laborious, tedious process and one that is not for the feint of heart. That’s one reason why it has taken the city nearly two decades to update it. But it is important. In fact, it’s legally required.
It is not a document to establish rules, regulations and ordinances. That would be a much easier exercise. Anyone who has labored over creating vision or mission statements for any organization has felt the pain of the process, especially if you are short of patience.
The next few months are crunch time for the city’s “vision statement” as residents will get a chance to weigh in with feedback on it. You don’t have to read all 300-some pages of the document to do so. The executive summary is brief with highlights of the plan’s nine sections. Reading that alone would be worthwhile.
If you care about the future of the city you live in, you should take the time to look at the key points and ask yourself: Are we aspiring to be an inclusionary community that builds on the values that we embrace individually and strive to achieve together as a community?
Let’s put politics and personal agendas aside and focus on building a city we want to leave for the next generation.
Don Henninger, executive director of SCOTT, can be reached at email@example.com