Where do we go from here? I don’t know.
Ok. So, these are not the most inspirational words from your brand-new City Manager. Please, bear with me for a minute.
Upper Arlington has been my family home for over 13 years. We are a community that is the envy of others around the country. We have a strong and rich history. We are in a fantastic financial position. We are located at the doorstep of a university that is one of the greatest economic drivers in the world. Our residents are knowledgeable and engaged. Our schools are built to help every child succeed. We are in a region that is becoming the model for how to prosper without choking on growth. While we cannot grow geographically, we have the opportunity to remake significant elements of our community. We have a City staff that are dedicated, creative and motivated to serve. These things I know.
Here is what I do not presume to know. I do not presume to know what you want for our community over the next 12 months, over the next five years or over the next 50 years. I do not know why you chose Upper Arlington as your home or why you chose to come back after growing up here. I do not know what you think will be important to help you live the rest of your life here. I do not know what will be important to making Upper Arlington attractive for our kids to return. I do not know what we need to do to attract a new and diverse set of residents to our community.
I have assumptions and ideas about all of those things, but I need to understand what our residents think before we can chart a path forward together. I need to hear your ideas. More importantly, I need to hear your priorities. Ideas without priorities are how you make a Christmas list. Priorities are how you make a plan and a budget.
There are many ongoing formal activities to engage with you to learn about your ideas and priorities—Council meetings, open houses, topic-specific online surveys to name a few—but don’t feel like you have to wait for us to ask you opinion. Reach out via e-mail or through the City’s website. If you have a group that you want me to come and sit down with, let me know.
I don’t know where we go from here. I do know that we will define success and chart the course to achieve it together.
All the best,
Note: Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 614-583-5040.