Grand Rapids highlights strategic plan progress amid pandemic

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The city of Grand Rapids is making strong progress in meeting the second-year goals of its four-year strategic plan, according to a report from City Manager Mark Washington and staff.

“As we navigate through unprecedented times and strategize economic recovery in the wake of the eventual close of this pandemic, we continue to use the strategic plan as our guide in decision-making,” Washington said. “This has uniquely positioned us to lean in on these challenges while still making progress on the issues we prioritized in 2020 and plan for in 2021 and beyond.”

With respect to the first half of fiscal year 2021 (July through December 2020), the city said it is 76% on track with performance, while the Grand Rapids Police Department is 90% on track with its own strategic plan, despite the unanticipated challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession and nationwide calls for immediate and significant policing reform.

“The progress we have made so far shows that when we direct our focus on bettering our community in times of hardship, our city is still capable of achieving our goals,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “I look forward to what we can all accomplish as we navigate out of the pandemic and into our city’s recovery.”

During morning and afternoon meetings, city staff and community partners updated the city commission on the economic outlook and recovery and FY2021 strategic plan highlights. They also detailed updates on key initiatives including the police department’s strategic plan, status of the new master planning process, and housing and homelessness.

“The successes in our midyear report show that our city staff and community organizations are committed to achieving the goals we laid out regardless of the setbacks we have experienced over the last year,” said Alison Waske Sutter, sustainability and performance management officer.

City staff outlined the progress the city has made in response to these events while working steadily to elevate quality of life in Grand Rapids by providing key city services throughout FY2021.

The city’s FY2021 Mid-year Performance Management Update includes four components:

  • CFO Molly Clarin’s financial update
  • Economic outlook and recovery update and FY2021 overview of strategic plan progress
  • Detailed updates on FY2021 initiatives (police strategic plan update including parking enforcement transition and evidence-based violence reduction RFP; master plan update and facilitator results; housing and homelessness update)
  • FY2021 midyear performance management update supporting report (coming soon)

Collectively, these reports illustrate the progress made over the last 18 months and the key accomplishments achieved under the first year and a half of the city’s four-year strategic plan. All performance management materials (presentations, videos, reports) are available on the city’s website.

Washington told the commission the updates identify key accomplishments and commitments concerning COVID-19 response and recovery, essential city services and strategic plan priorities and objectives.

The full FY2021 overview of strategic planning and progress presentation is available online.

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