City Council members, city administrators, city commission members and more attended the meeting.

City Council members, city administrators, city commission members and more attended the meeting.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

City unveils 2040 Visioning plan

Lakeside area to be ‘pinnacle of the city’s vibrancy once again’

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 5, 2024


STERLING HEIGHTS — After around two years of prep work, the core set of ideas that will guide how Sterling Heights plans to operate for the next 10 to 15 years was finally revealed during a Jan. 30 strategic planning meeting.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool said it’s been around 10 years since the city unveiled its 2030 Visioning plan, which officials cited all the time when discussing city policy goals.

But Vanderpool said it was time to look ahead even further into the future. Following a speech by “For the Love of Cities” author Peter Kageyama, city officials framed their 2040 Visioning presentation as “creating a most loveable city.”

According to officials, brainstorming and conversations for the new plan started during the city’s January 2022 strategic planning session. Then in 2023, the city created a 2040 Visioning team composed of city officials and stakeholders. Surveys of staff and residents were conducted, and a strategic planning firm, Strategiz, helped the city produce a list of the city’s strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats.

The fruits of those efforts led to the plan’s official unveiling Jan. 30.

According to Sterling Heights Library Director Tammy Turgeon, the 2030 Visioning plan was instrumental to several city successes, including new Dodge Park amenities; the new Community Center; and new commissions like the Sustainability Commission, the CommUNITY Alliance, and the African American Coalition.

She said one thing that will carry over from the 2030 Visioning plan to the 2040 plan is the city’s mission statement slogan of “Innovating Living.”

“We kept coming back to our current slogan,” Turgeon explained. “Because a mission is what you are doing in the present. … We’re doing things that other communities want to implement. We’re a step ahead with these new ideas.”

Human Resources and Benefits Manager Kate Baldwin revealed the campaign’s new vision statement: “An inclusive, vibrant community that is safe, active and sustainable.” Then a series of city officials each revealed a plank of the 2040 Visioning guiding principles. Those principles, verbatim, are the following:

• “Public Safety”: Public safety that is equitable, responsive and proactive.

• “Sustainability”: A city that is exceptionally maintained, sustainable and environmentally responsible.

• “Enriched Living”: Educational and recreational opportunities and programming for all ages, abilities and interests.

• “Neighborhoods”: Plentiful and diverse housing and green spaces available for existing and new residents.

• “Connected”: A city engaged with residents and businesses through innovative channels and technology.

• “Business Innovation”: A destination for entrepreneurs, and high-tech and emerging industries.

• “Distinctive Areas”: Vibrant and attractive areas with unique offerings and focal points.

• “Mobility”: An accessible city that is connected with a robust system of pathways and trails.

While commenting on the principles, City Planner II Alexis Richards was happy that sustainability was officially and specifically included this time as a major plank in the 2040 plan. And Assistant City Planner Shawn Keenan pointed to the Lakeside redevelopment plans as evidence that the city’s vision isn’t stagnant.

“In the near future, I am sure to see bulldozers and cranes on-site, followed by the rise of new commercial, residential and mixed-use buildings with places to gather, places that are walkable and bikeable and connect to the rest of the city,” Keenan said.

“This area will be the pinnacle of the city’s vibrancy once again, attracting people from all over the region to live, work, shop and gather.”

Lastly, city officials presented the 2040 Visioning campaign’s core values, which Vanderpool described as “the heart of everything we’re doing.” Those values are integrity, excellence, proactive, responsive, welcoming, collaborative and “fun!” — the last one including an exclamation point.

When City Council members commented on the 2040 Visioning presentation, Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko said the core values serve as a good guide not just for the community as a whole, but also for individual daily living.

“And if we all followed those core values, we’re just going to be a better city all the way around,” Ziarko said.

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.