Nearly two dozen residents, business owners, and public officials gathered Monday July 16 to discuss the future of Boyne City.
Boyne City officials hosted the event—which they say already had the input of more than 500 people leading up to last week’s session—in the newly renovated Veterans Park Pavilion.
“Nineteen years ago, the city commission and city staff decided to do a survey that involved the public in determining the goals of the city,” Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer said at the opening of this year’s goal-setting meeting…. “And, we have evolved over the past 19 years in the process of involving the public, using the data effectively, and using the data to set city goals.”
Neidhamer quoted longtime Boyne City Commissioner Ron Grunch saying, “Our city-wide goals reflect what our residents want, not just what the five commissioners want.”
Neidhamer lauded Boyne City Manager Michael Cain for using the goal-setting information to help focus the commission over the years to accomplish a number of projects.
“Every two or three years, we tweak the process to try to capture the best data possible to guide us in a direction that reflects what our residents want—from building a new wastewater treatment plant, to building new infrastructure, a revitalized downtown, improved parks and trails, a robust business park, and a new city hall,” said Neidhamer. “We have come a long way in meeting our goals.”
Boyne City Commissioner Dean Solomon then discussed the session’s process.
Solomon said the idea behind tweaking the process is to improve the process and get more people involved.
“We also realized that, if we have many goals, the city has no goals at all,” he said. “So, we wanted this process to get to a point where we have a smaller number—four to five goals—that more people have an opportunity to participate in.”
In previous years, the city held the goal-setting session first and then circulated a survey. This year, the process was reversed.
From the survey, taken by more than 500 people—mostly Boyne City residents—five issues were identified for discussion.
“We had hundreds of written comments,” Solomon said.
Those in attendance then broke into five groups to discuss and take notes on the five topics:
• Keeping young adults in Boyne
• Water quality protection
• Family supporting jobs
• Downtown vitality
• Affordable housing
Public comments from the survey will be combined with results from last week’s session and mulled by city officials during a Boyne City Commission work meeting on Tuesday Aug. 7.
The meeting is open to the public.