The Saratoga Springs City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to adopt the 2021-2026 Community-Based Strategic Plan outlining the city’s priorities for the coming years, which include bringing in more shopping and dining options and increasing neighborhood connectivity.

The plan was put together based on 12 “facilitated community dialogue sessions,” as well as conversations with approximately 25 organizations and stakeholders and a survey that more than 1,000 residents completed, according to a presentation during the city council’s Tuesday meeting.

Mackey Smith, a senior strategy consultant at Tanner LLC, which helped the city form the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, said the committee looked at “strategic directives” based on “what the city should get right, or focus resources on over the next four years to really bring about that quality of life that the city is aiming for.”

The first strategic directive discussed was “well-planned growth and housing,” with Smith noting that “residents are hopeful, as well as rightfully a little nervous given the massive growth that’s going on along the entire Wasatch Front.”

“And so, they’re excited and really voiced that feedback that they’d love the city to invest in that proactive growth and making sure that there is appropriate housing stock,” he said.

When asked where the city could improve, 68.4% of survey respondents said shopping and dining options, while 64.6% said ease of transportation, 28.2% said parks and recreation, 24.3% said employment opportunities, according to the presentation.

Based on the plan, the city will continue working on ongoing transportation projects on Redwood Road, Mountain View Corridor and Foothill Boulevard, said Smith, as well as enforcing density requirements “where legal and ethical” to do so.

Another directive for the west Utah County city will be economic development, including continuing “to attract and retain a mix of businesses that create employment opportunities,” recruiting dining and shop infrastructures and improving “tech infrastructure and internet access to recruit business,” according to the presentation.

But, Sid Hatch, the Chief Financial Officer of Manly Bands and who served on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, said the city needs to increase economic development while still maintaining access to recreation, including at Utah Lake.

“We’ve got a lot of development coming in, and so there’s concerns about the fact that we may lose the ability to have these recreational amenities that we have that attracted a lot of people out here from the get-go,” Hatch said. “And we want to make sure that we strike a balance.”

The plan also states that the city “will conduct a feasibility study to assess the possibility of investing in an eventual recreation center.”

When asked where the city should focus future resources to enhance the community, 63% of respondents said economic development, 56.2% said improvement of roads and sidewalks, 31.2% said lakefront development and 24.8% said youth recreation.

An additional directive of the plan is to create a “connected community” by reviewing development contracts “to identify any current gaps in residential infrastructure,” addressing existing gaps between community developments and investing “in needed pedestrian crossings near schools and selected intersections.”

Mayor Jim Miller thanked the committee for putting together the plan, which he said “really will be a big benefit as we plan going forward.”

Councilmember Chris Carn emphasized that the objectives outlined in the plan were based on community input and not the desires of the council.

“This was coming from residents to us,” Carn said.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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