City Manager Bruce Johnson outlined the points of a strategic plan for the city at a Grove Rotary meeting Wednesday, July 16th.
“We want to be sure we’re all tugging on the same rope,” Johnson explained.
The points of the plan include: establishing a connected, balanced, cohesive community; establishing strong safe neighborhoods; achieving results for citizens; economic development, and making sure the city’s infrastructure is sound.
Johnson said Grove has seen a 21 ˝ percent increase in population since the 2000 census.
“This makes Grove one of the fastest growing communities in Oklahoma,” he said.
He said that the population of Grove is currently about 6,237.
Among Johnson’s plans for the future of Grove is a hotel/motel tax to fund a visitors’ bureau.
“We want to get more tourists to stay and spend money. That way our citizens will have less tax burden and more services,” he said.
In addition, Johnson said the city is funding new equipment for the fire department and the police department; encouraging new businesses to locate in Grove; upgrading the wastewater treatment facility; acquiring grants to fund a new aquatic center and to complete phase II of the Downtown Revitalization Project; and completing the Olympus North cemetery.
He also said the city is going to keep working to maintain a cost-effective government.
“We want to establish fiscal stability,” Johnson said. “The city had some problems in that area when I came here a year and a half ago. Now we are out of the red except for Grove Municipal Services Authority.”
He added that Grove is storing natural gas to keep the price down for its citizens, but that unfortunately, there is going to be a 20 to 40 percent increase in the cost of natural gas down the road.
All in all, however, Johnson said Grove is a healthy community and is experiencing positive growth in many areas.