by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia
As of Friday afternoon I didn’t know what it was I was going to share with you this week. I had finished an interview for a science position at the high school late that afternoon and had made a flying trip to Poky to pick up a pair of waders that were being repaired when I started pondering about this week’s column. It was one of those weeks where I casually looked back and wondered what it was the city and I had gotten done. At first glance it didn’t seem like much; but then, a glance doesn’t always give you the whole picture. I had resigned myself to begin telling you about different parts of the Strategic Plan the city adopted last month. It seemed like a good place to start anyway.
As I looked at the plan this morning, and waited for the coffee to finish brewing, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found and didn’t have to look further than the first goal and its first objective and subsequent initiatives. It was like the city had started at the top of its to-do-list and began working its way down. Those things happen when you have a plan, I guess…
Strategic Planning Goal 1: American Falls supports and enhances the well-being, success and achievement of children, youth and families. Objective One: Support healthy lifestyles and disease prevention.
1. Increase access to fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods for low-income residents through increased gardening opportunities, better access to farmers’ markets and increased nutrition education opportunities.
Superintendent Jeremy Peirsol worked with the high school dual enrollment plant science class to establish a fruit orchard at the Community Garden. Don and Suzanne Johnson, along with Reggie and Leona Jackson, have the Community Garden ready for planting. There are nine generous plots available for whoever would like to use them. If you are interested in a Community Garden plot, leave your name and contact information with Debbie Erickson at the city office and Don or Leona will get in touch with you.
Jeremy, along with Emily Wright and her Junior Civitan Club, will be planting six more trees Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. as part of their community service program. Very special thanks also go to Dale Alvey and Kamren Koompin for the great site preparation.
2. Provide and promote information regarding the SEICAA program.
The American Falls FFA Ag Issues team presented their forum to 47 members of the South East Idaho Community Action Agency in Pocatello last Tuesday morning. The group hopes to do similar presentations here at home soon. SEICAA is a private non-profit organization that has provided a variety of services to low-income, disabled and elderly residents in the seven southeastern Idaho counties since 1969. SEICAA strives to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty through their active mission.
3. Increase community education and outreach efforts for Eco-City related activities focused on sustainability, such as energy and water conservation, green buildings, Eco-City audit, behavioral changes etc. and improve coordination across the city.
Again, Jeremy Peirsol with the After School Program completely reworked the flower gardens on the east end of the City Park. They tilled all the beds, laid weed barrier and planted perennials. The group also learned about Arbor Day and the significance of its celebration as each student was given a two foot Blue Spruce tree to be planted at their home. The trees were donated by Pegi Long from the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Thank you Pegi and the NRCS for your continued support of our children, schools, and community.
4. Create a “Play Spaces for Tots” initiative to address obesity and overall well-being in toddlers and preschoolers by increasing quality play spaces.
The irrigation system for the downtown is now fully automated and the care of the planting strip landscaping has been contracted by the city to Rios Lawn Care. Sod will be laid where needed in the City Park beginning this Monday as that part of the Downtown Project is buttoned up.
Bronco and Mustang league baseball has started at Lee Street Park through the Outdoor Recreation Program. New benches will be installed at the Magnuson Field dugout as part of a senior project by Ben Lish this Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Superintendent Dusty Whited and the street crew excavated and re-landscaped the portion of Stebbins Park that had to be trenched during our last major water event.
5. Increase access to safe walking and biking trails in the city.
We found out Friday there “may be” some funds left over from part of the Downtown Project that could allow us to install curb, gutter and sidewalk along Bannock Avenue from the corner of Pocatello to the middle school.
I also had three meetings with folks who share a common interest in developing a trail system, both on land and in the water, from Seagull Bay to Massacre Rocks State Park. There is a lot of leg work and planning to be done on this front, but I can’t begin to describe how excited I am about the possibilities this project brings to my mind; and about those who have agreed to help with the project.
I didn’t make it past the first goal and objective, but I assure you more was done than I can put in this space. The Strategic Plan can be found on the city website if you have an itch to know what else will be coming your way.
Until next week…