Input helps boost city's position as destination.

In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Dan Fankhauser noted encouraging developments and lingering challenges in the community.

Among items on the plus side was a new retail development, which naturally has been the focus of much public attention. Garden City welcomed Menards recently, and is in line for Dick's Sporting Goods, Ross Dress for Less, Cato Fashions and Ulta Cosmetics.

Fankhauser also reported Hobby Lobby would be joining the mix in the shopping center. More announcements on retailers and restaurants are yet to come.

As for challenges, Fankhauser pointed to a big one in a housing shortage. A number of planned housing developments in the works should bring relief, he said.

The mayor also emphasized the importance of citizens getting involved in charting a course for a city becoming even more of a regional destination.

Fankhauser touted participation in the annual Capital Improvement Planning (CIP) process, which empowers local citizens to help guide the direction of Garden City, as one such way to make a difference.

Through CIP, citizens address the needs and wants of the community, be it in street improvements, park enhancements or other endeavors. It's a unique opportunity to guide government in creating the community residents want for years to come.

CIP develops sort of a wish list of projects and improvements, with proposals prioritized and moved up or down a timetable for City Commission consideration.

Intriguing possibilities loom moving forward. During a February goal-setting retreat, city commissioners touched on such ideas as expansion of sidewalks and trails; a public/private shooting range; additional support for public art; rehabilitating brick streets downtown; and an indoor/covered multi-court facility for year-round sporting events.

Once residents complete CIP work with city staff, commissioners consider whether projects fit into that year's budget.

The CIP process over the years has helped deliver numerous improvements literally ranging from A to Z, from the airport to the zoo. In a community poised to become more of a destination while improving quality of life for those already here, CIP offers a great avenue for citizens willing to help build Garden City's future.