Early Efforts Underway For Ocean Pines Strategic Plan

OCEAN PINES –  A review of a community survey and a discussion on next steps highlighted a recent meeting on the development of a strategic plan.

Earlier this month, members of the Ocean Pines Strategic Planning Advisory Committee met with board members to discuss the development of a strategic planning document. Chair Bernie McGorry told officials input from the meeting would be used in developing five-year goals for the community.

“The goal today is to review and provide feedback on the situation analysis that this team has completed, in particular the conclusions and recommendations …,” he said. “Secondly, we’d like to brainstorm on preliminary goals.”

In December, the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee released the results of a strategic planning survey, in which more than 1,800 respondents identified issues most important to community members. And in the months since, committee members have been analyzing survey responses as it develops a strategic plan.

“There isn’t a strategic plan at this point,” McGorry said. “So it’s not like we’re fixing something, we’re creating something from scratch. It’s a lot of nuts and bolts, looking at data and going through a strategic planning process.”

McGorry told board members last week the assessment phase of the strategic planning process was nearing its end. As a result, he said committee members were seeking the board’s input on conclusions gleaned from the community survey.

“Depending on the progress of this meeting, we want to go and establish goals and start to get consensus on those goals …,” he said. “It’s important to really get to that step.”

In his presentation last week, McGorry told board members the survey identified Ocean Pines as an older, less diverse community with several amenities and low crime rates. He encouraged the association to continue to invest in the community, embrace diversity and stress the importance of safety.

“We recognize this as a communication opportunity and to educate the community going forward,” he said.

Committee members also concluded property owners were satisfied with the Ocean Pines community and prioritized maintenance of infrastructure, community appearance and HOA fee value. McGorry said the association should continue to invest in infrastructure improvements and community appearance and strive to keep assessments reasonable and appropriate.

Committee members also concluded there was support for investing in current amenities.

“There was lukewarm interest for new amenities or services …,” McGorry said. “When we looked at amenities, our conclusion was those who used the amenities were very satisfied with the amenities they used.”

The committee also concluded that community members placed a high importance on transparency. Several of the committee’s recommendations involved communications strategies to inform residents of the work being done in Ocean Pines.

“It was interesting to me to see how much of this relates back to communication,” said Association President Colette Horn. “When I look at these 10 conclusions, something I take away from this … is that the public is not as aware as they should be on what their return on investment gets them. And I think that’s a communication opportunity to explain how the strong financial performance in each of the amenities, how that impacts our assessment … This isn’t just about being profitable, it’s that profitability benefits each of us financially.”

McGorry noted the next meeting will focus on developing goals for the strategic plan.

“We don’t want to overcomplicate things,” he told board members. “We see it as a one-page plan that includes a vision statement, what your key goals are, what your key strategies are and eventually [key performance indicators] and everything else. There’s also something called enablers in there, which is what we have to have in place in order to enable us.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.