Administrator discusses vision for city

Jefferson City is looking at establishing a new city vision, laying out the goals and tasks to be completed in order to achieve that vision.

At the City Council meeting Monday, City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus made a presentation on the city’s goals and its vision. He said the council had asked him to set up some goals, but stressed that what he came up with was simply from discussions with staff.

For a realistic and complete vision for Jefferson City, he said, the community and the council needs to be involved.

“This is my vision,” Nickolaus said. “Just something to kind of think about.”

He said it is a dynamic city that should uphold its cultural legacy and “build toward a strong, vibrant future.”

Nickolaus said one of his goals would be to create a positive city and encourage diversity, which would require attracting more people to the area.

One of Nickolaus’ “pet peeves” is how often people are asked if they are born here, adding that the implication is a person’s input is not as important if they are not originally from Jefferson City.

“That’s very off-putting to people who are not from here,” he said.

Nickolaus said what he presented is just a starting point and the process would not be simple.

“It’s a very lengthy process,” Nickolaus said. “You’ve got to have this kind of vision to move forward.”

Mayor Eric Struemph said he hopes the process of establishing a city vision would begin in the next few months.

Transit supporters vocal

In other business, transit riders and supporters spoke at the council meeting to voice their continued support of JeffTran and Handi Wheels.

In the past few months, the transit system had faced a proposed midday break in service as part of a series of cuts to make up a $1.68 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year. Last month, the council voted to restore the funds and avoid cutting the service.

But transit riders returned to voice support of an expanded system, with the group Citizens for JeffTran submitting nearly 700 signatures in support of city transit.

“You may not need it right now, but one of these days, you just might,” said Wayne Lee.

Lee, and several others, also spoke in support of establishing a public transit advisory commission, something the council may discuss later this month at a Public Works and Planning Committee meeting.

“What we need right now is a transit commission,” Lee said. “We can do that together. And that’s the way it has to be.”

Heidi Lucas, chair of the Citizens for JeffTran group, said she hopes the council will keep in mind the many people who depend on transit as they begin work on the 2014 budget.

“We hope that we can find a way to increase transit service to better serve those who ride it as well as find a way to attract new riders to use JeffTran,” Lucas said.

Lucas also presented the council with a list of recommendations for members of a public transit advisory commission. The list includes two council members, members of the business community, a regular route rider, two riders of Handi Wheels, a disability advocate and many others.

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