Worthington City Council ready for challenge of molding vision statements into actions

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Worthington City Council on March approved a resolution to adopt the Worthington Community Visioning Committee's seven vision statements.

After a long and articulate creation process by the Worthington Community Visioning Committee, Worthington City Council on March 1 formally adopted seven vision statements and supporting principles.

With the resolution to adopt, the Worthington Community Visioning initiative's seven statements will be used as a guide for how residents hope to shape the community for years to come. 

The 13-member visioning committee invested significant hours since the visioning initiative was created in 2019, brainstorming and gathering public input to sculpt the final statements. 

The statements, and all the details of the initiative, were logged into a final report that council accepted Jan. 4.

“We’re very pleased, and we can’t thank the committee enough for all the work they did,” council President Bonnie Michael said.

Adopting the visioning statements is one thing, Michael said. Now the challenge is how best to implement them into actions that mold the community, she said. 

After the adoption of the statements, council members engaged in a discussion on how they could start to be implemented in the coming weeks and months. The creation of a steering committee – an idea that’s been floated for several weeks – was covered.

Discussions still are in the early stages, but council members envision a potential steering committee playing a major role in how the visioning report is implemented, Michael said.

In a PowerPoint presentation March 1, the purpose of the steering committee was illustrated as understanding “the City Council’s priorities for next steps regarding the Vision Worthington effort and (overseeing) development of action plans for consideration by City Council."

"City Council will determine priorities and make final decisions on the action steps to be taken," the presentation said. "The steering committee will document the actions already being taken related to the visions, evaluate ideas regarding new steps that may be taken and advise City Council on options for pursuing the established priorities. Once actions steps are determined, the steering committee will develop recommendations for performance metrics for the visions and a means to track the metrics over time.”

“We still have more discussion to go, but we’ve made major progress,” Michael said. 

The size of the steering committee and who serves on it still must be determined. 

Michael said she foresees other opportunities for residents to have a hand in the implementation process outside of the steering committee. This includes the potential creation of subcommittees and workshops.

“There’s going to be opportunities for people to continue to be involved in the ongoing implementation of the visioning statements,” she said.

The visioning plan’s adoption comes after several weeks of deliberation from council surrounding how best to frame the resolution for adopting the statements, as well as thinking of implementation strategies. 

Joe Sherman, chair of the visioning committee, said he was pleased with how council didn’t rush the adoption of the visioning statements.

“I was really pleased to see that council took their time with this, because this is a big step,” he said. "We spent a lot of time getting to this point as a committee, so I was really tickled to see them go ahead and adopt it, and now we’ll see what kind of implementation comes forward out of that.”

Sherman, who said he spent nearly 700 hours developing the initiative as head of the visioning committee, will step down as chair when the committee disbands at the end of March to allow other residents an opportunity to work on the initiative.

He said council has floated the idea of retaining some members of the committee to help with implementation efforts.

“I was asked to stay on, and I said ‘No, I’m not going to do that,’” Sherman said. “I really feel my voice has already been heard, and I think it’s time for other folks in the community to step up.”

Sherman said he doesn’t know what direction the initiative will take in the years ahead, but he is excited to find out.  

“I don’t know what kind of life it’s going to take in two years,” he said. “But I know it will be something.”

The seven vision statements are: 

• Worthington is a diverse and equitable community.

• Worthington is dedicated to the vibrancy of its downtown.

• Worthington is connected.

• Worthington is a model for environmental stewardship.

• Worthington offers a high quality of life.

• Worthington’s economy is balanced and resilient.

• Worthington’s leadership is open, forward-thinking and collaborative.

To view the final visioning report, go to worthington.org/visioning or visionworthington.org.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve