Listening to citizen input is at the heart of this phase of the overall long-range planning process. Opportunity was given to voice opinions and suggestions through a series of public meetings and through an online survey.
By chance, our community received five community assessments within a relatively short time period. Thus, this provides an opportunity for an honest assessment of “where we are today” the good, the bad, and the ugly. Links to each of the following reports were provided to each of the strategic planning committees.
A comparison of various community assessments was initiated by City Manager, Greg Burris, with additional input from other community leaders. The results of those discussions are illustrated in a wall of placards, each representing areas of strength or weakness within specified categories.
This community strategic plan will not replace the individual strategic plans created by the various institutions within our community. For example, Springfield Public Schools, the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the various higher education institutions, and others will continue to develop their own strategic plans. It is not our intention to re-develop or modify those plans for these institutions. However, it is hopeful that these institutions will be able to use the community strategic plan, once completed, to provide a context for their future planning efforts. Also, the Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee will work toward weaving these individual institutional plans with the community strategic plan to ensure they are complementary.
Four student groups presented their vision for Springfield's long-range future to City Council as part of a competetion. Their materials are listed below. The group from Evangel University was the overall winner.
The Network is an organization of young professionals that work to attract, retain, and engage young professionals in our community. One of the focus areas of this strategic planning effort is to increase the input from our younger generation of citizens. In addition to seeking input from K-12 students via the Listening Tour and higher education students via the Visioning Challenge, we reserved one spot on each planning committee for a member of The Network to ensure the voice of our future community leaders is heard.
“Regionalism” is one of the four cross-chapter themes of our community strategic plan. To promote this spirit, Springfield’s Mayor and City Manager are conducting two-on-two meetings with area mayors and city administrators to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. We recognize that “we’re all in this together,” and what is good for the region is good for all residents of our various cities and counties. Additionally, the Greene County Commissioners and staff regularly meet with area city leaders to host similar conversations.
Springfield’s City Council members and Greene County Commissioners conducted a strategic planning retreat in an attempt to elevate a set of strategic initiatives of importance to both the City of Springfield and the region. Additionally, these two groups are scheduling joint meetings with the Springfield Board of Education and Board of Public Utilities to have similar discussions.
While we are allowing the citizen-based planning committees to drive the process and determine the initiatives of strategic importance to our metropolitan area for the future, city and county staff are offering research and administrative support as requested by the committee co-chairs. Many city and county staff possess invaluable historical knowledge that benefits the planning committees as they perform their work. However, it’s worth restating – the citizen-based planning committees are performing their work without intrusion by city or county staff.
Before beginning this strategic planning process, we met with the chairs/co-chairs of previous Vision 20/20 steering committees – Bill Compere, Carol Williamson, and Brian Fogle – and asked them what worked well in previous planning efforts, what they would do differently if given a chance to do it again, and what recommendations they would have for the next planning process. Their input was very valuable and likely allowed us to avoid dozens of potential landmines along the way.
Composed of citizens and City and County staff, this committee was tasked with identifying “mega-trends” that they feel will impact our community over the next 20 years. Their resulting report was provided to each planning committee.