BANGOR, Maine — Last October, when City Manager Ed Barrett stepped down after 22 years, the City Council cited a desire to take Bangor in a new direction with a new vision.
Since then, councilors have met on multiple occasions to articulate their collective vision for the Queen City.
Here’s what they have come up with:
“Bangor will continue to be the hub of northern and central Maine and the gateway to the Maritimes. The city is committed to economic progress, cultural richness, environmental stewardship and educational excellence.
“In working toward this vision, in 2010 the city will:
— Finalize the preliminary site plan and design for the arena.
— Complete the next phase of the waterfront master plan.
— Enhance the city’s economic development resources.
— Continue to ensure educational excellence in our school system.
— Improve transportation and pedestrian public access and linkage.
— Actively seek opportunities for regional collaboration.
— Strongly support education and business initiatives that attract health science and-or ‘green’ workforces.”
That vision statement was presented before the City Council met Monday. While it could change before adoption by the council next month, most councilors appeared ready to move forward.
Councilor Susan Hawes, whose task was to put the vision statement and goals together, said she recognized that the finished product does not address everything the city plans to tackle this year.
“It cannot be all things to everyone,” she said.
Council Chairman Richard Stone agreed that the statement is as specific as the city can be. What people will remember, he said, is how the city carries out that vision. Other councilors agreed that the process took longer than it should have, but the message is what’s important.
“This is meant to hold our feet to the common goals,” Hawes said.
Councilor Pat Blanchette said she didn’t want to pour cold water on the vision statement, but she was not convinced that it would have much impact.
“I’ve been a councilor for 16 years and this isn’t any different than anything else we’ve come up with in the past,” she said. “It looks good, but they all look good.”
Councilor Gerry Palmer said the statement simply serves as a toolbox and that the entire task was thankless.
“We need to wrap this up and move forward,” he said.
The public is welcome to comment on the vision statement at the next City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.