Jennifer Syx and Janie Hanna recently appeared in the Gazette Courier for their work helping the Conneaut Port Authority rewrite its mission statement.
CONNEAUT – The Conneaut Port Authority plans to seek public input in the near future as it drafts a revised mission statement.
Its first meeting to address the mission statement revision was held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, with partner inSITE Advisory Group attending remotely.
The board was quick to point out that it is not simply doing away with its old mission statement. Rather, it wants to rewrite it to reflect the organization’s new mission enhancing and expanding its role in local economic development.
Most notably in the past two years, in a huge non-lakefront project, the Port Authority purchased the “Welton Road” building at Welton Road and Route 7 – the former home of Hagstrom Motors – extensively renovating the building and renting it to a brand new business, Conneaut Creek Float & Fly Shop. It has sold other real estate in the Port Conneaut area, where it also plans to add storage units.
“We want to clarify our purpose and direction,” said Port Authority Chair George Peterson. “Our current mission statement focuses on the waterfront, and it’s time to look at our expanded vision.”
The Port Authority’s current mission statement does focus heavily on the lakefront:
“The Conneaut Port Authority is committed to promoting economic development and recreational activities along the lake front. The Conneaut Port Authority will achieve this mission by promoting economic development within the Port of Conneaut, the city of Conneaut and region; providing recreational activities along the lakefront; enhancing and improving boating opportunities for the public; and attracting visitors to the natural lakefront environment.”
inSITE’s President Jennifer Syx and Project Manager Janie Hanna support the mission statement revision and outlined steps to be taken to complete the work.
Stressing that the mission statement should convey why the organization exists, and who and what is served as well as how, Syx and Hanna said it should convey its message to visitors as well as community partners.
“It should be clear, concise and informative,” Hanna said. “Not overwhelming.”
A good mission statement should also motivate Port Authority staff, board, and volunteers. That is not all. Perhaps most important, inSITE said, the statement should serve as a template for decision-making, focusing energy and attention and sending a powerful message to the public.
As a result, the process of redeveloping a mission statement can take months.
“It can take hours, days and weeks to get it written. You have to think about it,” said Hanna. “You have to expand on it, something on top of the lakefront.”
After the 30-minute meeting, the Port Authority was directed to do just that before coming together again. In the meantime, Peterson wants input from the Conneaut Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conneaut Foundation, the latter one of two community partners in addition to the city that is funding inSITE’s three-year economic development consulting contract. This is the contract’s third and final year.
“I don’t want to ‘stack’ it, but I want them to see who we are, know what they see, and then reach out to the business community and neighbors who may have ideas,” Peterson said.
Peterson said the kick-off meeting will likely get underway early next month.