by Marty Proctor
The city of Groveland is creating and executing a consolidated plan for the future of the city. A series of presentations at the recent Centennial Celebration highlighted the future as seen by city planners, community leaders, local landowners, and outside experts. The Strategic Planning Committee presented its vision of the future of the city. This portion of the event was hosted by Community Development Director Tim Maslow. Mr. Maslow opened with this thought. “Who are we and what do we want to become? Let’s be intentional about this process and the strategic plan. Florida is on fire with development. Everyone is coming here, for good reason.” Florida is the third fastest-growing state in the nation and Lake County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Florida.
Tim implored the audience, city and committee to “walk with us” and used that aphorism to move into the new vision statement. This statement is the view of the future of the city for the next ten years.
Groveland is a collection of towns, villages, and hamlets interweaving a diversity of people into an eco-agrarian landscape, embodying the following core values:
The city commissioned and received a series of themed illustrations from artist JJ Zaneta. The watercolor paintings illustrate each of the core values outlined in the city’s vision statement. Tim added, “we want people to understand that these values are important to us.” The watercolors are displayed in the windows of the Groveland City Annex. A former thrift store, the Annex, at the corner of Lake and Broad streets is now housing city offices and event space.
In a break from the usual format of these meetings, committee chair Keith ‘Chef’ Keogh was asked to explain intentionality. “This is not pie in the sky. This is very intentional.” Keith continued, “there are metrics going forward to ensure that we stay on the strategic plan. The plan can be adjusted over time but the core values will never change.”
Tim resumed explaining the core value of connectivity and the value of heart. “Connectivity for example it’s how we connect people with nature. Look at the five core values, they are meaningless without the heart. That’s 20% of the values that make the 80% of the impact. With the heart, it’s all about how we treat each other. That’s free and you don’t have to wait for a strategic plan to have heart.”
Shifting gears to wider area future considerations, Mr. Maslow explained, “that there are about 34,000 acres in the Groveland utility service area. 17,000 of those acres are still in the county. So if we plan all these interesting things and we are not walking closely with the county and share the same vision, you are going to see a mixture of things not lining up correctly. We have already had great talks with Commissioner Sean Parks and it is Groveland’s role to be the first of 14 jurisdictions to complete a JPA (Joint Planning Agreement) with the county. This will help define which portions we want to preserve for nature and also for agriculture.”
The plan will be submitted to the City Council for approval. Once approved the plan includes a defined implementation phase. The city intends to execute all of these changes while maintaining financial health to prioritize the needs of today without sacrificing the ability to meet the needs of future generations.
The objectives are to:
- Align the city’s budget with this strategic plan
- Develop a debt management policies following Strong Town principles
- Create a standardized fiscal analysis
- Diversify the tax base
Tim resumed the wrap-up, “this strategic plan is not just a shiny new document. Budgeting will include alignment with the strategic plan. This plan will be a guideline for the city through 2032 with benchmarks and measurable progress metrics that will be evaluated at annual meetings.” The city’s history is full of stories, businesses and families engaged in an agrarian lifestyle. The stated goal for the future is to become a close-knit community where everything is thoughtfully integrated and works toward establishing a community livable lifestyle for current and future residents.
The Strategic Plan Committee was composed of these citizens:
- Keith Keogh, Chair
- Jamie Lowe, Vice Chair
- Andy Hansen
- Bret Jones
- Bridgett Bennet
- Chloe Gentry
- Jose Rubio
- Kim Jemison
- Dr. Roland Nunez
- Dr. Tony McCoy
A mission statement was also crafted.
The City of Groveland is an ecosystem intentionally connecting safety, service, and innovation to support a vibrant welcoming community with natural charm.
Contact Tim Maslow, Community Development Director Phone: 352 250-7578