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Strategic Plan


Executive Summary City of Frankenmuth ● Strategic Plan Approved May 6, 2003

If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else.

Yogi Berra

A Little Background

In the Fall of 1998, Frankenmuth City Council and senior staff members convened a strategic planning session to discuss the state of the City and to create a planning tool to guide municipal services. Goals were established and tasks assigned in a dynamic plan for municipal action.

Four years later, after taking stock of that same plan – what was accomplished and what wasn’t … what changed and what needed to change – Council agreed it was time to update and refine the initiatives of this original document and create a new blueprint for municipal services and community development.

  I. The Process

The loftier the building, the bigger the foundation must be.

Thomas A. Kempis


Frankenmuth’s success is rooted in collaboration. City Council members believe strongly in working through the City’s professional staff and the City’s boards and commissions. Council invited senior management and representatives of each of its three major boards to participate in the process. The Chairpersons of the City Planning Commission, the Downtown Development Authority and the Economic Development Corporation participated in the discussions.

Dr. Joe Ohren of the Eastern Michigan University Institute for Community and Regional Development facilitated the process. Participants assembled for three meetings –totaling 14 evening and weekend hours – working through an intense agenda prepared by Dr. Ohren.

Each session analyzed a series of three management considerations -- barriers to effective decision-making, strategic issues and goals/strategies. The outcome of the discussions created an action plan intended to guide City Council decision-making over the next several years.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concern citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

Barriers to Effective Decision Making

Most assuredly, if a group of two, 20 or 220 assembles, there are two, 20 or 220 opinions on any subject. Weaving those viewpoints into a common thread is a challenge for the best of organizations.

Recognizing barriers to effective decision making is critical for overcoming those barriers. Identified barriers are: lack of prioritization of goals, reactive vs. proactive decision making, close mindedness and lack of trust.

Recommended tools to remove these barriers include:

1. Establishing a framework

§1 To brainstorm new ideas;

§2 To define major goals and priorities, clarifying the purpose and value;

§3 To seek outside input from citizenry and staff;

§4 To create opportunities for idea exchanges and consideration of alternatives; and

§5 To allow for honest and frequent review of processes, issues or initiatives.

It is imperative that the framework

§1 Allow enough time to review and discuss issues; and

§2 Respect all sides of an issue.

2. Linking the decision-making process to a thorough and meaningful strategic plan;

3. Understanding issues through self-education and preparedness, analyzing impacts and considering a macro-approach to problem solving .

With the removal of these barriers, the City Council can build trust between participants and decision makers, providing a welcome environment for input and consequently, good decision-making.

It’s not the plan that is important, it’s the planning.

Graehme Edwards

The Next Steps

With the adoption of this Strategic Action Plan, these steps will be taken over the next working period:

§1 Communicate expectations about what the City feels is important, what it requires in performance, and what is expected in follow-through;

§1 Continue to review action strategies, adding and removing items as appropriate. Consider with whom responsibility rests, timelines for completion and benchmarks for success.

§2 Circulate the plan to those whom the plan impacts: staff, commissions, boards & task forces, civic groups and citizenry.

§3 Regularly review progress and communicate results. The action plan is an important source of guidance for the City Council – we will revisit it often.

§4 Promote this process and the commitment the Council has made to it. Only through such process of self-assessment and reflection can this organization truly be an excellent or effective Council.

Dr. Ohren summarized the process stating:

The process of thinking together – identifying key characteristics of the community, prioritizing the strategic challenges facing the City, and developing an action plan – is really more about the process than the document itself. The purpose of the exercise was to foster a thinking process, and to provide a common framework for addressing problems over the next few years.

  II. The Action Plan

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

George S. Patton

The Action Plan prioritizes three major goals:

1. Strengthen and diversify the economy;

2. Plan for new and replacement infrastructure to accommodate the community’s future; and

3. Continue to strengthen relationships with neighboring governmental units to address mutual problems and strengthen the larger community.

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision to reality.

Warren G. Bennis

Goal 1: Strengthen and diversify the economy.

A. Conduct a business recruitment effort and market Frankenmuth as a location for development;

B. Build/develop the business park to build new City tax base and create new employment opportunities;

C. Develop a marketing plan for all development opportunities within the City;

D. Provide infrastructure where appropriate to support new business development;

E. Re-evaluate the zoning of developable areas within the Urban Limit to accommodate desired businesses; and

F. Develop a long-range Economic Development Plan consistent with the Master Plan.

Vision without action is a daydream; Action without vision is a nightmare.

Ancient Japanese Proverb

Goal#2: Plan for new and replacement infrastructure to accommodate the community’s future

A. Develop a Capital Improvements Plan inclusive of maintenance, replacement and new infrastructure financing and scheduling;

B. Draft pre-development engineering plans within the Urban Limit to better anticipate how the city can serve currently underserved/undeveloped areas;

C. Connect trails/paths on bridges and the dike to permit pedestrian movement through the community; and

D. Complete a feasibility study to identify methods to address congestion in the main corridor; engage the community in the discussion.

There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

Norman Vincent Peale

Goal #3: Continue to strengthen relationship with neighboring units of government to address mutual problems and strengthen the greater community.

A. Continue to meet with regional municipalities and townships to create active dialogues between neighbors;

B. Encourage ongoing communication between the City and its boards and commissions, township governments and the Frankenmuth School Board; and

C. Include Frankenmuth Township representation on the EDC, the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Transportation Advisory Committee.


The Frankenmuth City Council enthusiastically adopts this revised and updated version of the City of Frankenmuth Strategic Plan.

Collectively, we have undertaken a significant effort to identify and discuss strategic issues, articulate long term goals and develop action strategies to guide Council decision making over the next several years. The task is not complete; this is the start of the process, not the end.


Participants in the Strategic Planning Process


Frankenmuth City Council Gary Rupprecht, Mayor Erv Banes Richard Galsterer Art Loeffler Richard Meyer Susan Piesko Terry Weiss

Charlie Graham, City Manager John Deterding, Assistant City Manager & Treasurer/Assessor Phillip Kerns, City Clerk/Zoning Administrator Randy Braeutigam, Department of Public Works, Superintendent Birt McKendree, Waste Water Treatment Plant, Superintendent Ken O’Brien, Water Superintendent Dave Wright, Parks & Recreation Department Director /Fire Chief Jim Petteys, Police Chief, Retired Don Mawer, Police Chief Dave Curtis, Wickson Library Director Sheila Stamiris, Downtown Development Authority Director

Wayne Bronner, Downtown Development Authority Chair Tony D’Anna, Economic Development Corporation Chair Roland Koch, Planning Commission Chair

Facilitated by Dr. Joe Ohren Eastern Michigan University 

Go to Action Plan Worksheet



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City Office 240 W. Genesee
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Phone: 989.652.9901  Fax: 989.652.3451
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