Sanibel Vision Statement Reviewed In Day Two of Retreat

by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes

The Sanibel Vision Statement was adopted in 1986 and part of it hangs in MacKenzie Hall. It has been equally as important as The Sanibel Plan to the city and community in providing a sense of direction throughout the decades and became a cornerstone to the island lifestyle.

Tom Sharbaugh, left, reads the preferred vision statement draft at the second day of the strategic planning retreat. The original Sanibel Vision Statement has been equally as important as the Sanibel Plan, right, to the city and community throughout the decades. The Plan also guided many of the deliberations during the retreat. SC photos by Shannen Hayes

The influential three-part vision statement with a hierarchy of values underwent a review by the working group Wednesday, the final day of the strategic planning retreat at the Sanibel Recreation Center. Many in the group initially thought it would be difficult to improve on the vision statement and certain words, such as “sanctuary” and “lives in harmony,” remained in several of the drafts.

The preferred vision draft states, “Sanibel is and shall remain a barrier island sanctuary, one in which a diverse, multi-generational community lives in harmony with the island’s wildlife, preserving natural habitats for the inspiration of future generations.” It carries very similar language from the original statement, but adds diversity and family.

Kate Shaffer, a citizen member and part of the group which drafted the preferred statement, explained many of the city’s founders represented families – Porter Goss and Francis Bailey, as examples. Family may have been assumed back then, she said, but today the island is more known as a retirement community, so citing family in the vision statement may now be applicable.

Vice Mayor Richard Johnson quoted his father-in-law Francis Bailey, who said a healthy community is made up of a diverse population. Johnson said diversity should be important to the vision as the community should aspire to welcome all people.

Darla Letourneau, another citizen participant, added living in harmony with ‘nature and each other’ should be crucial language to adapt in the revised vision statement.

Groups work on revising the vision statement at second day of strategic planning retreat Wednesday, March 16 in the Pelican Room at the Sanibel Recreation Center. SC photos by Shannen Hayes

Excluding or including the word “attraction” garnered a lot of discussion among the group when it came to crafting a mission statement. It’s the third part of the original vision statement and refers to the island’s “attractiveness” to visitors by the sanctuary quality and the city will resist pressures to accommodate visitor attractions and activities that compromise that sanctuary quality.

One of the two preferred mission drafts states, “Sanibel shall strive to be a diverse and united population that acts as a steward of the island and strikes a harmonious balance between sanctuary, community and attraction consistent with the island’s hierarchy of values.”

The second preferred mission draft addresses the city’s role to island stakeholders, protection of environmental assets, economic stability and strengthening community engagement. The two drafts will be blended into a single mission statement.

Groups craft a mission statement at the second day of the strategic planning retreat.
SC photos by Shannen Hayes

Core values or the beliefs and practices that guide the conduct, actions and goals of the city and community were developed. The top four were respect, integrity, stewardship and conservation. Inclusiveness and accountability also received a high number of votes from the group.

Communication also made the list of core values, but received a small number of votes. Resident Arlene Dillon said, during public comment, she was “disappointed communication only received three dots” because good communication between the city and citizens is vital.

Strategic goals and objectives were drafted and voted on by the group, but time ran out before they could be prioritized. Water quality, city staffing, infrastructure, community engagement and inclusiveness, public service and transportation were mentioned.

Voting on strategic goals. SC photos by Shannen Hayes

Dr. Bob Lee, who facilitated the retreat, will have the prioritized goals, based on the group’s voting, to the city next week.

“All day, both days, everyone seemed to be focused on the assigned tasks,” said Lee. “They were receptive to different points of view and respectful and civil to each other. And they successfully completed each phase of the process.”

Mayor Holly Smith addressed the room at the end of the second day. She said the working group had made excellent progress in the two-day retreat and the strategic planning process is a fluid one. “This is just the beginning,” she said. She also said this will be a community plan, as the process began with a public workshop last month.

The community will have an opportunity to provide input on the work done in the two-day retreat, as well. City Manager Dana Souza plans to have a discussion about scheduling a public workshop at the council’s April 5 meeting.

Lee said public engagement appears to be a “genuine part of the city’s process. There have been various opportunities for public input and city officials, along with the other participants of the retreat, incorporated the public’s viewpoints within their own deliberations.”

Lee added, “Sanibel is a special place, not just because of its stewardship of the natural environment, but in how people treat each other when tasked with discussing something as important as strategically planning for the future.”

The strategic planning retreat working group comprised of council members, city staff and citizens chosen by council, with facilitator Dr. Bob Lee, seated left. SC photo by Shannen Hayes

Strategic Planning Retreat Working Group

Council Staff Citizen
Mayor Holly D. SmithDana Souza, City ManagerRobert “Bob” Brooks
Vice Mayor Richard JohnsonChief Bill Dalton, Sanibel Police ChiefBarbara Joy Cooley
Councilman Dr. Scott CraterJohn Agnew, Sanibel City AttorneyChris Davison
Councilman John HenshawCrystal Mansell, Administrative Services DirectorJames Evans
Councilman Mike Miller
Scotty Lynn Kelly, City ClerkKevin Godsea
Bert Smith, Information Technology DirectorJoel Goodman
Holly Milbrandt, Natural Resources DirectorRoger Grogman
Steve Chaipel, Finance DirectorNeil Halleran
Trish Phillips, Recreation DirectorYvonne Hill
Keith Williams, Community Services Director
Calli Johnson
Craig Chandler, Planning SupervisorDarla Letourneau
Dana Dettmar, Natural Resources DepartmentStephen Lodwick
Steve Maxwell
Jim McCallion
Bob Miller
Bob Moore
Katie Reid
Barry Roth
Susan Ruberry
Chris Rueblin
Chet Sadler
Larry Schopp
Kate Shaffer
Tom Sharbaugh
Milissa Sprecher

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