What is the Strategic Vision Plan?
The Strategic Vision Plan is an outline of the community’s goals for the city’s future. The City’s job is now to ensure that we are pursuing these goals on behalf of the residents and working with the community to make them a reality.
You can learn more about the goals, focus areas, and initiatives, as well as the process for determining them, by reading below.
Smyrna’s Strategic Vision Statement (2014):
“Smyrna will achieve the highest levels of community attachment and commitment by providing academic excellence for our children, fully involving our citizens in all aspects of the community, creating leadership opportunities for all residents, establishing high expectations for our quality of life and place, and creating a strong identity and image.”
– Smyrna Vision Plan (2014)
In 2017, the City Council adopted the 2040 Comprehensive Plan which incorporated the goals of the Vision Plan and offered an update to aspects of the city’s vision. It sought to provide a more actionable statement. More information on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan can be found at the bottom of the page.
“Smyrna will emerge as a regional destination known for its sense of community, ease of access and connectivity, signature public spaces and art, entrepreneurial spirit embodied in unique local businesses, and its diversity of distinct and welcoming neighborhoods. “
– 2040 Comprehensive Plan (2017)
During the vision process, residents were asked to identify Smyrna’s greatest strengths and its greatest challenges.
The community visioning process identified 16 overarching goals and 52 initiatives to help achieve those goals.
The 16 overarching goals are divided across five categories identified as being the biggest priorities for the community:
- Involvement and Leadership
- Quality of Place
- Image and Identity
- Community and Economic Development.
Many of these goals naturally overlap and fall into more than one category because community issues are interrelated. It is important we keep all aspects of the community and the vision plan in mind as we move forward in the implementation process.
Involvement and Leadership
- Smyrna will be a welcoming place where all residents are invited to engage in the community
- Community leadership will reflect the diversity and demographics of the City
- Residents and visitors alike will continue to enjoy a wide range of signature community events
Quality of Place
- Residents will enjoy a wide range of transportation options and modes of activities, including increased pedestrian connectivity to destination centers inside and outside City borders
- Smyrna will elevate opportunities for recreation and experiencing arts and culture
Image and Identity
- Smyrna will actively tell its story to internal and external stakeholders
- Smyrna’s aesthetics will be distinctive, of high quality, and recognizable to visitors and residents alike
- Smyrna’s entrepreneurial and technology assets will be part of its regional and national reputation
- Smyrna will be known as a city that celebrates its diversity
- Parents and businesses will be active partners with local schools
- Smyrna’s public schools will be high-performing and sought out by parents and families
- Smyrna will be known for its high quality schools
Community and Economic Development
- Smyrna will be an active participant in countywide economic development and planning efforts
- Housing diversity in Smyrna will enhance community attachment, cater to a diverse population, and be a model for other growing cities
- Retail options will align with residential preferences and more expenditures will stay in Smyrna
- Core City services, development, and redevelopment efforts will enhance quality of life and diversify the tax base
Vision Plan Documents
The final vision plan document that the Smyrna City Council adopted in October of 2014 was composed of three parts. The links below will let you view the documents in full. These documents are very lengthy and hard to digest. The goal of this website is to make Smyrna’s Strategic Vision Plan easier to understand and more accessible to all our community members so we can work together to achieve it and understand whether we’re making progress.
The documents are hosted on the SmyrnaCity.com website because they are too large to post here.
All of the above information was laid out as part of the visioning phase of the process. Now the City of Smyrna is in the implementation phase.
The purpose of the implementation phase is to work toward achieving the above goals over the next 10 years. This would have set 2025 as the tentative “finish line” but we must remember that the city’s vision plan is a living document that must be periodically revisited and updated. Big goals take time and the goal line will always be moving.
The key part of implementation is not just doing the things identified in the plan but moving the community closer to its goals for the future. This includes implementing new programs and creating new initiatives and partnerships.
City Coordinating Implementation Efforts
The City has renewed its commitment to implementing the plan by assigning the coordination of the implementation process to several staff members in the Administration department in the summer of 2017. You can find a contact person here.
Previously the City relied almost solely upon resident work groups to lead implementation efforts and this had natural limitations due to people living busy lives and participation being on a volunteer basis. By placing the onus of responsibility on specific City staff who work on implementation efforts as a primary part of their role, we are able to increase accountability for the implementation process and make participation easier for residents that want to get involved.
The City’s Special Projects Coordinator is newly responsible for coordinating quarterly update meetings that allow all interested residents to hear about the progress being made and how to get involved. Rather than asking individual groups to meet monthly, this helps ensure that everyone is hearing the same information and is aware of what is going on and how it relates to the goals they are most interested in. Instead of asking residents to report back to the City about what they are doing, now the City reports to the work groups and residents and helps identify concrete ways to get involved. It also provides an opportunity for critical feedback and input to ensure we continue to adapt our approach appropriately and effectively.
Updates to the Plan
The update the City made to its Comprehensive Plan also represents an update to the Vision Plan. It provides us with more guidance and ideas for how to achieve the community’s goals, as well as restating what those goals are.
Find out more about it below:
Adoption of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan
In October of 2017, the City Council adopted the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. It was developed over a year-long process titled Guide Smyrna and was heavily guided by the goals and vision laid out in the city’s Strategic Vision Plan. The process sought to update some of the Vision Plan’s goals and translate them into more action-oriented items.
The Comprehensive Plan has therefore become a critical component of the implementation of the Strategic Vision Plan. It further informs the City’s efforts with data, analysis, and recommendations that better enable our community to realize our vision for the future.
Naturally – you’re wondering what a Comprehensive Plan is, so we’ve borrowed the information from Guide Smyrna to help explain.
What is the Comprehensive Plan?
The Comprehensive Plan is the overarching guide for the City of Smyrna’s future growth and development. It guides decisions on rezonings and land use as well as related transportation, housing, economic development, and other quality of life issues by establishing goals, priorities, and action items for Smyrna’s future. It is a long-range plan, taking a 20-year view of the City’s potential. Comprehensive plans are overseen by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and reviewed by the area’s regional commission – in our case, the Atlanta Regional Commission. Regular plan updates are required to maintain eligibility for certain grants and loans administered by the state.
The City of Smyrna engaged in over a year-long process called Guide Smyrna with the help of a consulting firm. Mayor and Council adopted the 2040 Comprehensive Plan in October of 2017.
The Comprehensive Plan update is being led by the planning team, which includes the City of Smyrna Community Development Department and the consultant team of Jacobs and Market Street Services, in coordination with other City departments. The driving influence on the plan’s update is input from community members and direction provided by the Steering Committee, balanced with the technical expertise of the planning team.
Stepping back to revisit and update the City’s overall strategy for our future growth and development is essential to facilitating a high quality of life for the people of Smyrna. It helps us to protect critical resources, prioritize future spending, plan for infrastructure improvements, coordinate across departments, and ensure policies are in place to help all individuals, businesses, and organizations thrive. The Comprehensive Plan update also provides the opportunity to integrate other related planning efforts into one cohesive growth and development plan for the future. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs requires all local governments to review their plans every five years and update their plans every 10 years to maintain eligibility for certain grants and loans; the City of Smyrna is due to update its plan in 2017.
The best plans result from thoughtful input from a wide range of community stakeholders. Residents, employees, business owners, community leaders, nonprofits, students, visitors, City staff, and anyone with an interest in Smyrna’s future are encouraged to participate. The planning team will listen, ask questions, facilitate dialogues, and provide professional guidance throughout the process, ultimately crafting a plan based on public input. The plan will then be reviewed by the community, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Mayor and City Council; refined; sent to the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review; and considered for action (adoption) by City Council as the guiding document for the City.