It has to start somewhere. For nearly two hours Friday morning, Lake Elsinore City Council members worked together to determine the vision for their city.
With some input from staff and local residents, the council came up with a vision statement:
“The City of Lake Elsinore will be the ultimate lake destination where all can live, work and play, build futures and fulfill dreams.”
“It’s pretty wordy, but we’ve got a lot to be proud of,” City Manager Grant Yates told the council after the arduous task was complete.
The council members and staff will “chew on” the statement this weekend, but it’s expected the wording will now be used “very publicly” to market the city, Yates said.
Rick Bishop, executive director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments, volunteered at no charge to lead Friday’s workshop. He explained the vision statement is important because it conveys to the world what the city is about, what it wants to achieve over time, and provides an inspiring “big picture” to work toward.
Without a vision, he said, “You’re circling the drain.”
During Friday’s exercise, council members each expressed their visions for the city.
Mayor Bob Magee said he wants to make the lake the focal point. A desire to bring hotels, restaurants, piers, water attractions, and other recreational and lifestyle activities to the lake were among Magee’s input.
Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Johnson emphasized “a city that lets everyone fulfill their dreams,” and said she wants to see higher education, jobs and medical care in Lake Elsinore.
“I want it all in our city limits,” she explained.
Councilman Steve Manos pushed for the “live, work, play” factor, but he also emphasized safety in the community.
Councilman Brian Tisdale echoed the council members’ push for local jobs, and he also rallied for making Lake Elsinore a “recreational Mecca.”
Councilman Daryl Hickman pushed for an emphasis on sports in the city.
The process led to defining some key initiatives designed to help bring the vision to fruition.
Public safety, economic development, improving the city’s image, transportation, higher education, recreation, and bringing improved health care services to the city were the initiatives identified Friday.
How the city will implement the initiatives was not discussed, but Bishop told council members, “This is the first step.”
The process of defining a vision statement and identifying goals has largely been absent in Lake Elsinore. City Manager Grant Yates, who took the helm last year, said he felt it was time to adopt some forward thinking.
Tim Fleming, a 19-year-resident, agreed.
“This is long overdue,” he said.
Friday’s workshop took place at the Lake Elsinore Marina & RV Resort because the city’s historic Cultural Center on Main Street -- the usual spot for meetings -- is currently undergoing a seismic retrofit.
The cost to rent the resort clubhouse Friday was $150, Yates said.
The meeting spot provided a unique vantage point: The clubhouse features a panoramic view of the lake, a brick fireplace, and wood-beam ceilings. Looking out through the windows at the dramatic storm clouds and rain that fell on the lake Friday, Bishop said, “This is Lake Elsinore – I wish everyone could see this. It’s beautiful! I’m glad we’re holding the meeting here.”