Claremore Daily Progress

January 16, 2013

City Council holds strategic meeting for planning

Members identify Claremore’s vision for the future

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Claremore City Council called to order a strategic planning session Monday night at the RSU Innovation Center. Council members discussed strengths and weaknesses of the city and worked to develop a vision for development and growth.

Facilitated by Innovation Center Director Jeri Koehler, the council formed a list of important items categorized by the strengths, vision, opportunities, threats and weaknesses of Claremore.
One of the common themes during the meeting was growth. Council members were asked to imagine the future of Claremore 10-20 years from now and discuss what kind of changes or expansion they would like to see.
City Manager Jim Thomas said right now he doesn’t see a clear branding message for Claremore.
“We need to decide on what message we want to send to current and future residents,” said Koehler. “Some people would say we’re a small town and want to keep it that way and others would like us to be a suburb eventually.” 
Koehler said it’s hard to brand the city because there are two ends of the spectrum to deal with.
“At some point we just need to decide and go with it,” she said.
Thomas said he thinks Claremore missed an opportunity 20 years ago when Owasso began growing.
“That really should have been in Claremore,” he said. “I think there will be another opportunity for that in this next phase of growth and the challenge will be for the leaders to tell those handful of ‘naysayers’ we’re boldly going where Claremore has never gone before.”
As part of the city’s growth, the council members discussed the need for a better relationship with the county commissioners.
“Somehow we have to build some bridges there and make sure we’re in line with things,” said Councilor Mark Lepak. “It’s up to us as individuals to reach out more to not only the county seat but also others such as the planning commission and city engineer.”
After narrowing the list of relevant items, the board decided to focus on generating a comprehensive plan for accomplishing six objectives- reconstruction of aging infrastructure, the issue of bringing in more youth opportunities and tourist attractions as well as providing needed water storage, annexation and retail development in the community.
Thomas said he will meet with his senior staff throughout the next few weeks to initiate a work plan to meet each goal. 
He plans to present steps for action during the Feb. 2 council meeting.