City updates inclusive plan

ALPENA – Now that the City of Alpena has updated its comprehensive plan, ways to implement the new goals, objectives and strategies are being sought. The list of items needed to be put into action is long, complicated and more than what the planning commission as a whole can do alone and still accomplish other planning matters.

As a result a sub-committee from the planning committee could be formed to help determine what action items should be the primary focal points and which will be the simplest and cheapest to implement.

Planning and Development Director Adam Poll said altogether there are 355 action items in the comprehensive plan, but many of them are already in the process of being achieved. He said the new committee could help prioritize the action items to those most feasible to accomplish in the next 12-24 months and then move toward making them a reality. Poll said Mayor Matt Waligora suggested the city’s visioning committees may also be able to help play a role in tackling some of the issues and help move them forward. He said if the planning commission agrees to create the sub-committee, it will then make a recommendation to the other commissioners, who will then do the same to the council. Poll said it will also give city staff a direction in terms of pushing the new action items forward.

“Many of the action items are very broad and are things we are doing and will continue to do, like support economic development. There is a lot of given in the plan,” Poll said. “I asked the planning commission to compile a list of action items they would like to see achieved in the next year or two and the list was quite extensive. The new committee would be able to do a lot more of the leg work and we can get down to just a few action items and we can focus our attention on accomplishing those instead of trying to achieve too many and not accomplishing anything.”

Poll said action items in several different areas need to be pursued.

“There are eight different categories in the comprehensive plan, such as land use, government services, historical and cultural resources, natural resources,” Poll said. “We want to pinpoint one or two things from each and move forward. We want to figure out what goals we want to have and what we need to do to accomplish them.”

There are three new members on the planning commission who did not take part in updating the plan. Steve Gilmore and Clay VanWagoner were just appointed to the commission Monday and Mark Hunter only a few months ago. Poll said he will take suggestions and ideas from the new commissioners and bring them up to speed as quickly as he can. He said staff is always working on implementing new issues in the plan.

“There are obviously things that the staff is going to go ahead and do, but it is nice to have a little more direction,” Poll said. “I think the new sub committee will help us to work in a more efficient manner and I’m confident we should be able to boil things down and come up with the action items we want to move forward with.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at