Kettering seeks ‘deep engagement’ for new plan to guide city’s future



“Deep engagement” is being sought for Kettering’s next strategic plan, which will guide city decisions for the next five to 10 years.

Feedback so far has included priorities such as being a more welcoming city, parks and recreation, closer ties with the school district and “making it an even more encouraging environment for economic development,” said Susan Bodary, a co-chair of the strategic planning committee.

But it’s “too early to say” if obvious priorities are emerging, she said, “because we’ve gone to a lot of different groups, but we haven’t aggregated that data yet.

“Maybe by mid- to late-July “we will have some kind of directional ideas,” Bodary added.

The 30-member committee held a public input session last week. The next forum is scheduled for Thursday. The workshop for residents and business owners is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Wilmington-Stroop Branch Library, 3980 Wilmington Pike.

Aside from community events, residents and businesses can also offer input through an online survey or seek out committee members for smaller gatherings at churches, homes, service groups or in neighborhoods, Bodary said.

The survey is available at You can register for Thursday’s forum or request a copy of the questionnaire by emailing

The city’s budget includes a strategic plan with a mission, vision, and strategic priorities and tactics for each department. It is reviewed and updated each year, but Kettering has not done a community engagement process to update this information for quite some time, according to the city.

The process will help the city set goals involving suggested policies, programs and actions for the future, Kettering City Manager Matt Greeson said.

“Council was very intentional about making sure it wasn’t a council or staff-driven process, but one that fully engaged the community.”

The group is a broad cross section of Kettering whose members range in age from the mid-20s to the 80s, have various ethnic backgrounds, including some fairly new residents from other countries, Bodary said.

The strategic plan, which is targeted for completion by early 2024, “won’t necessarily say ‘do X, Y and Z in any one particular area,” Greeson said.

“But it will help inform what areas we work on, spend our staff time and resources and efforts to bring more focus to … and so we need to be open and listen to the community about what they have to say,” he added.

Greeson said because of the importance that income taxes have on the city’s budget, he expects that Kettering Business Park, Miami Valley Research Park and the Wilmington Pike business corridor will part of a continued focus on redevelopment and economic development as they “remain strategic plan priorities.”

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