No one can accuse Orem of being unprepared. The city has a plan that, if it can be funded, could focus resources and improve the quality of life well into the next century.
City officials commissioned the community strategic plan seven months ago, and the final report, prepared by the Arthur Young consulting firm and a panel of 46 citizens, was presented to the City Council this week."We asked why residents would recommend someone live in Orem, and 92 percent mentioned the family-oriented environment," said Doyle Buckwalter, panel spokesman. "Nearly 70 percent mentioned community values, and many others listed the existence of retail shops, the arts and culture and affordable housing."
The panel chose as the plan's mission "to promote an environment where families and individuals can enrich their quality of life."
To that end, the panel made lists of 83 suggestions to improve Orem's economic vitality, quality environment, educational support, life enrichment and citizen involvement.
Strategies to increase economic vitality include preserving prime city locations for regional retail business, budgeting funds to promote Orem as a regional retail center, targeting $100,000 for each of the next five years for beautification projects in the retail corridors of the city and committing 25 percent of sales tax generated from new retail businesses to additional economic development.
To improve the quality of the environment, the panel suggested long-range improvements involving curbs, gutters, water, sewer and the storm system. The panel wanted to establish a committee to educate the public on substance abuse and to organize annual seminars where the public can meet with judges, City Council members and safety officials to ask questions. It also suggested creating a political alliance among public entities to reduce pollution.
The subcommittee dealing with educational support suggested such things as creating a student-tracking system to monitor drop outs, working to increase the enrollment in college preparatory courses, increasing promotion of adult education classes, and developing a Utah Valley Community College/community newsletter to be mailed out with utility bills.
The panel also suggested better publicity for existing programs and the development of new programs on fitness and nutrition. It asked for the establishment of a city arts tour.
To promote citizen involvement, the panel suggested creating a human relations commission run by individuals from various ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Such a group could work for cultural acceptance, the panel said. The panel suggested conducting an annual citizens' opinion poll and asked the city government to cooperate with schools to develop a leadership program.
Some programs are already in effect, some could be started easily with little or no funding, but many would be very expensive and would take years to establish.
One of the issues the council must settle before approving the city's 1989-1990 budget is how much of the plan, if any, it wants to fund for the coming year.
Orem residents who want more information or would like to serve on a committee should call 224-7035.