Newark is working measurable goals into a one-year contract for a planner that could be hired this year.

Newark is working measurable goals into a one-year contract for a planner that could be hired this year.

"We want to contract first before we hire someone full time so we will have a feel for what we want the position to do," Mayor Bob Diebold said.

Stephen Fowler, Newark's economic-development director, asked council and administrators to prioritize duties from a list he had provided. The list he sent to council included the following 12 economic-development priorities:

Support and/or collaborate on two substantive downtown development projects.

Contribute to a multiparty, collaborative pilot project to stabilize the "East End" neighborhood.

Support public-private partnerships.

Pursue one "Clean Ohio Brownfield" and one "Ohio Job Ready Site" redevelopment project.

Update and/or support the city's community-reinvestment-area (CRA) abatement program and the Tax Incentive Review Commission.

Support current and future joint economic-development partnerships.

Support Newark's tax-increment-financing (TIF) programs.

Support ongoing retention and expansion, as well as business recruitment and support efforts.

Pursue additional state and federal redevelopment financial assistance and incentives.

Build deeper relationships with Newark's 20 largest businesses and industrial facilities.

Pursue at least two retention-expansion/job-generating investment projects.

Identify land for positive tax-generating development, redevelopment and/or annexation.

Fowler also included 12 planning priorities for review.

"We need to think about this together," he said.

Fowler said that from the two surveys, he plans to have a list of five to 10 measurable goals that could be put into a one-year planning contract. The city then could contract with a planner for one year and see if the goals are feasible.

He said this is the first step in Newark's evolution toward forward-thinking. The city already reorganized some of its departments earlier this year and gave Fowler a part-time assistant, who will work with him and the planning commission -- helping Fowler do research for projects and keeping minutes and records for the planning commission.

Fowler said having another staff person in the office already is helping. His hope is that the city could continue to move forward by hiring a planner by the end of the year. He said the city also aims to include the planning commission in more of the city's planning processes.

"We want to do more with the planning commission, to make them more active and more integrated in planning issues," he said.

Fowler plans to have a draft of a planning contract to the law director for review soon.

The reorganization of the city's service department was supposed to provide $54,000 annually that the city wants to offer a planner, Diebold said.

lwince@thisweeknews.com