6 consultants to be interviewed for Tacoma strategic plan contract

The City of Tacoma has picked six consulting firms to be interviewed as part of its plan to hire a facilitator to guide Tacoma’s strategic planning and visioning process.

Earlier this month, the Tacoma Daily Index reported seven consulting firms submitted proposals for the $250,000 to $300,000 contract before the bid deadline expired on Tues., Feb. 25, at 11 a.m.

The six firms selected to move on to the interview process are Athena Group, LLC (Olympia, Wash.); Beckwith Consulting Group (LaConner, Wash.); BDS Planning and Urban Design (Seattle, Wash.); Community Attributes Inc. (Seattle, Wash.); Fern Tiger Associates (Oakland, Calif.); and Strategies 360 (Seattle, Wash.).

Public interviews will be held on Mon., March 17, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 248, in downtown Tacoma.

The firm that is ultimately selected will guide the development of a Strategic Visioning Plan, which will provide an action plan for the next five years and set the course for Tacoma over the next decade, according to City of Tacoma officials. The plan would also help the City of Tacoma direct its resources toward a defined vision for a future that is reflective of community priorities, considers current and future trends, and bolsters the City’s unique position within the region.

The strategic planning and visioning process will aim to address seven key focus areas: public health and safety; quality of life and livability; economic vibrancy and employment; culture, arts, and recreation; educational opportunity and attainment; effective, efficient, and economical government performance; and infrastructure, mobility, and environmental sustainability.

Additionally, Tacoma City Council and City of Tacoma staff will use public feedback received throughout the civic engagement component of the strategic planning and visioning process to inform the way the City of Tacoma develops its 2015-2016 Biennial Budget and future budgets. The Strategic Visioning Plan will also aim to serve as the overarching document by which all other City of Tacoma plans, policies, programs, and department or individual evaluations are established.

The City of Tacoma last embarked on a similar project 10 years ago when it developed “Tacoma Tomorrow: 2005 – 2010,” a strategic plan that aimed to identify the City’s priorities, opportunities, and initiatives.

“Tacoma is part of what has been recently dubbed in the national media as one of a dozen ‘mega’ regions in the United States,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “It is home to nearly 10 million people and generates an annual economic output of about $600 billion. The Puget Sound Region alone is forecasted to reach a population of nearly five-million people with more than three-million new jobs by 2040. The Strategic Visioning Plan that evolves from this process will not sit on a shelf and collect dust. It will be a plan of action to help ensure that Tacoma is well positioned to fully utilize its assets and identify opportunities to improve the quality of life for residents of our city.”

“Civic engagement will be core to the development of the Strategic Visioning Plan,” said Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “This will be a process that is accessible and transparent to all, as the City works with residents and other stakeholders to ensure that this plan is a solid, ambitious and viable living document.”