Last month, the City of Signal Hill asked residents to “dream big” and help officials update the City’s outdated strategic plan. Their responses ranged from requesting a new library to criticizing the police department’s recent forays into new technologies, their new license-plate readers, for example.
Consultant Billy Kelly led the community brainstorm on March 22, collecting input from residents on what they feel are Signal Hill’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth and threats in the future. He asked residents to not hold back.
“There are no bad comments and no bad ideas,” Kelly said.
The majority of the attendees considered “staff longevity” and “Council tenure” strengths of Signal Hill, but a minority felt that new leadership in Council would be good for the city. Marc suggested installing Council districts and term limits.
Others expressed concerns over how quickly the cost of the water utility will increase after new regulations will require the City to treat storm water before it is released.
Donna Harris said that even though she considers the town to be business-friendly, one of the city’s weaknesses is its lack of a town center. Many residents agreed and said they hope for new retail opportunities.
“It would be so nice if there were places to sit out on the sidewalk in front of restaurants– an ‘old town’ Signal Hill, a new ‘old town’ Signal Hill,” 12-year resident Harris said.
Some potential threats included decreasing sales and property tax revenue, traffic, natural disasters and “civic unrest.”
The idea was also raised to have a signature community event that would attract visitors from out of the area. There was also praise for the City’s Concerts in the Park.
Marc criticized the Police Department’s recent forays into new technologies, their new license-plate readers, for example.
“I think that its just chipping away the little privacies we once had,” Marc said.
Carmen Brooks advocated for more opportunities to further community engagement. Many in attendance felt that not enough residents stay informed on the goings-on of their city.
After an attendee mentioned a lack of volunteer opportunities in the community, Judie Jacobus responded by talking about her own experience.
“Every so often the police department offers the Citizens Police Academy, which is a wonderful way of getting involved in what goes on in the department. That’s how I started out and became a volunteer, something I dearly love and would plan on doing for many more years,” Judie said. “When things like that come up, avail yourself to those opportunities because you become more involved with the city and more informed of what’s going on and what’s available.”
In this area, the group was unanimous. Apathy, they said, was one of the most serious threats to the future of the city.