Monday, January 18, 2016
Joplin city manager provides weekly update
Good afternoon, everyone. Please see below for this week’s update.
-On Monday, I visited with representatives from Heritage Strategies, to give input/weigh on some questions they had related to putting together our new historical preservation plan. They have been meeting with various stakeholders this week and may possibly reach out to members of Council as well, as I am sure they would welcome your input as they work to put our plan together. I’d like to commend our planning department, particularly the work of Taylor Cunningham and Stephen Grindle, for their efforts in working with the company and our community as we gather information and input.
-On Tuesday we received an update from Deloitte and staff on the JHAP program. Through the end of last week we have closed on 436 homes, with approximately 113 more that could close within the next six months.
-On Wednesday I met with Joplin Chamber President Rob O’Brian to discuss several projects, namely the advanced technical training center at the former Franklin Tech building, as well as an ongoing effort to reach out to the representatives from International Paper to gain their support to enhance the retail market in the area off of Range Line, west of the Home Depot location.
-On Thursday, Director Bolander and I met with Jimmer Pinjuv for an update on projects taking place out at Wildwood Ranch.
-Later that afternoon, Director Pekarek and I participated in the monthly One Joplin steering team meeting to hear updates from various teams working in the focus areas of health, human services, and poverty. We are working on a communication plan to share with various stakeholders, but I have been impressed by the ability of our non-profit community to come together around these issues and begin to work on solving some of our toughest social issues. More information on this endeavor will be coming soon.
-Earlier today, I met with Director Allgood to get an update on various programs in human resources. Anticipating the close-out of the JHAP program, which is currently facilitated out of the first floor of city hall, we will have the potential for additional space to provide service to our residents, and we are beginning discussions about how that space could be utilized in the future. Another project we will be focusing our efforts on this calendar year is finalizing the update to our rules & regulations manual.
-Several people have mentioned an article that was written by Jim Salter with the Associated Press, that ended up in various newspapers from across the country (Washington, DC, Tulsa, and St. Louis, just to name three that I saw) discussing our recovery as we approach the five-year anniversary of the tornado. In light of that coverage, I was asked to participate in a podcast with GovLove to further discuss our recovery efforts, so earlier today I spent about an hour having that conversation. While preparing for that podcast, I was reminded of the hard work and tremendous effort our community has put forth towards our recovery, and I can’t help but feel both pride and humility when I think about all we have accomplished. My words certainly cannot do justice to adequately convey the spirit and tenacity of our community, but I hope my comments will at least convey my sincere appreciation for our staff (both present and former), our businesses and faith-based communities, and the volunteers who continue to support and serve our city.
-Wrapping up my afternoon, I received an update from AtCM Brian Kelly and city manager’s office intern Kaneisha Giles on the progress of our volunteer program. We continue to work out some details and are putting together a marketing plan, but we have already begun receiving applications from residents to participate in the program, so I am optimistic about its future.
-Our Public Works and Fire departments have been working with GLMV architecture on finalizing the plans for the Public Safety Training Center building, and are working together to prepare the construction documents to put out to bid.
-On Thursday, PW Director Nick Heatherly met with SEMA and FEMA representatives to tour flood-damaged areas as a result of the heavy rains a few weeks ago. There is no timetable on when we will learn whether any of our costs are reimbursable, but I will keep you posted.
-For other PW-related updates, please refer to their attached report.
-CVB Director Patrick Tuttle is working on an updated tourism market assessment, and has asked that I pass along the following comments and a summary of the initiative that is under way, which is attached to this report as well.
* It has been more than 11 years since the CVB completed any form of a tourism market assessment. Since March 2015, we have had an ongoing online survey of those potential guests who have requested a Visitors Guide. Our follow-up survey is to see if their inquiry turned into a conversion, i.e. a visit. Those findings will be turned over to a professional assessor by midyear and the results made public shortly after.
*In a couple of weeks, the CVB will embark on a tourism destination assessment called Destination NEXT. This program has been developed over the past 5 years and is administered through Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the primary organization for CVB advocacy and development. The assessments will be taken by tourism stakeholders from across the region, then collected and evaluated. The findings will be assessed against three platforms: a) against all the data DMAI has collected worldwide, b) against similar sized tourism markets and c) against our market by itself. o Following a month of collecting data, at the February board meeting of the JCVB advisory board we will conduct a four-hour workshop to go through the findings. A moderator from DMAI will conduct this workshop, with the goals of reviewing the findings, learning how we compare to other like markets, and formulating ideas for moving forward with the identified strengths and opportunities.
*Council members will be invited to complete the online assessment, plus have 2-3 council members participate in the workshop if you are interested. The workshop will be from 12:30 to 4:30 on Tuesday, February 23rd.
*Attached is a brief summary of the 20 variables that are measured. The first two parts focus on the first 10 variables, while parts three and four focus on the latter 10. A link will be sent out next week to access the assessment for your participation.
In the Pipeline
-Please mark your calendars for a work session on January 25th to discuss our change order policy. I have also reached out to department heads to see if there are any other topics that we can update you on, so as the agenda takes shape I will keep you informed and send you any supporting documentation you may need to be prepared for the discussion(s).
-Earlier this week I also attended the personnel board meeting, where the topic of the parks reorganization was discussed, along with associated job descriptions that needed to be revised and incorporated into the pay plan. The personnel board approved the reorganization plan and the position titles/changes, so they will be brought to you for your consideration at our meeting on February 1st.
-Next week, I will be out of the office most of the day Wednesday and all day Thursday, to attend the Missouri City/County Manager’s Association winter workshop in Columbia, Missouri. I