Public wants shorter vision statement for city government | News

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After seeing a proposed city government vision statement, the public is seeking something shorter and “less boring.”

Those working on the CrossroadsMHK strategic plan met with the public last week and during a Monday virtual meeting to gather input about the draft vision statement.

Officials working on the plan came up with the following statement based on the first round of community feedback:

  • A thriving, high-quality university community that offers a variety of opportunities to support the wellbeing of its people while capitalizing on its small-town feel.
  • Providing a high-quality university community means offering amenities, services, a diverse economy, and a well-maintained and attractive built environment that is welcoming and accessible to all.
  • Putting the wellbeing of people first in our community means continuing to support and expand good paying jobs, while providing housing choice and affordability, and connecting people through mobility options so that all people can reach their full potential.
  • Building on the small-town feel means continuing to evolve and grow opportunities for people while capitalizing our sense of place that is critical to our identity.

“I wish it had something about embracing diversity,” said one commenter during Monday’s virtual meeting. People remained anonymous as they provided feedback to officials.

PlanningNEXT, a consulting firm from Columbus, Ohio, is helping the city lay out goals and priorities for the city government. Jared Wasinger, assistant to the city manager, anticipates officials finishing the entire plan by late August or early September.

During the meeting, members of the community provided feedback on the statement. In addition to adding diversity elements, some people said it needed to be shorter.

“It is too long and boring,” a commenter said during Monday’s virtual meeting.

Another person requested officials add something in the statement about Fort Riley.

“Given the financial impact, Fort Riley should be added somehow,” one person said.

Sarah Bongiorno, senior project manager for PlanningNEXT, said she appreciated that feedback as CrossroadsMHK didn’t hear a lot about Fort Riley during the first round of engagement.

“It really wasn’t mentioned very much, but we know it’s important in the region,” she said. “And so we know they have a big economic impact so we are going to have to figure out to how best to sort of balance that as well.”

Bongiorno added officials want to gather more data from African American, Hispanic and Asian populations as well as college students in this second round of public engagement to reflect the thoughts accurately from the overall population in Manhattan.

“We’re working with folks to try to fill in those gaps,” Bongiorno said Monday.

There is a second survey available for people to take online at the CrossroadsMHK website. People can take it until May 31. Survey questions ask how well a respondent likes the draft statement.

1. On a scale from 1-5 please rate how strongly you support the following draft vision statement for Manhattan, with 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “full support.”

The vision for Manhattan is…A thriving, high-quality university community that offers a variety of opportunities to support the wellbeing of its people while capitalizing on its small-town feel.

Providing a high-quality university community means offering amenities, services, a diverse economy, and a well-maintained and attractive built environment that is welcoming and accessible to all.

Putting the wellbeing of people first in our community means continuing to support and expand good paying jobs, while providing housing choice and affordability, and connecting people through mobility options so that all people can reach their full potential.

Building on the small-town feel means continuing to evolve and grow opportunities for people while capitalizing our sense of place that is critical to our identity.

2. Please provide any comments about the draft vision statement. What do you like or don’t like about the draft vision statement?

3. The vision statement uses the phrase “small town feel”. In the first round of public input we heard from a lot of people that the small town feel of Manhattan was important to them. Do you agree with that sentiment?

4. What small town attributes to do you value in Manhattan?

Below are draft values that were identified in the first round of public engagement input. These values capture what is important to the community of Manhattan.

5. On a scale from 1-5, please rate how strongly you support the following draft value statements for Manhattan, with 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “full support.”

The people of Manhattan value our…

1. People and sense of community

2. Identity as a university community

3. Size and small-town feel

5. Access to an active lifestyle

6. Please provide any comments about the value statements. What do you like or don’t like about the value statements?

A goal is a desired outcome expressed in simple terms that serves as the organizing element for the action agenda and ties back to the vision statement. The City’s new strategic plan will be organized into seven goal ideas.

For questions 7 to 13, please rate on a scale from 1-5, how strongly you support the following draft goal ideas for Manhattan, with 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “full support”

7. Goal #1: A well-run City organization… where employees are appropriately resourced, competitively compensated and staffed to realize the vision for the City.

8. Goal #2: A strong and diverse local economy…where people have access to diverse employment opportunities with competitive pay and the community attracts and retains talent.

9. Goal #3: A nurtured community… where people are engaged and connected to services, resources and others that support their wellbeing.

10. Goal #4: A green community… where stewarding natural resources and taking care of the environment is considered in key decisions.

11. Goal #5: An enhanced network of infrastructure… where it is continually planned, implemented and maintained to support living, working and investing.

12. Goal #6: A strong sense of place… where neighborhoods are safe, walkable and connected and the emotional attachment to the community is enhanced by new development and redevelopment.

13. Goal #7: A transparent and fiscally healthy budget… where the operations of the city, including budgeting and decision making are transparent, accountable and accessible to the community.

14. Please provide any additional comments about the goal statements. What do you like or don’t like about the goal statements?

15. What services, programs and projects do you wish the City would invest more in?

16. What services, programs and projects do you wish the City would invest less in?

For each of the seven goal ideas in questions 17 to 23, please indicate your top two topics that you would like to see the City invest in over the next five years.

17. Goal #1: A well-run City organization…where employees are appropriately resourced, competitively compensated and staff to realize the vision for the city.

A) Modernize technology, systems, and equipment for staff and departments

B) Audit current protocols to increase efficiency and cross-department coordination

C) Improve opportunities for staff training, onboarding, and professional development

D) Establish competitive pay and benefits for staff and focus on staff retention

18. Goal #2: A strong and diverse local economy… where people have access to diverse employment opportunities with competitive pay and the community attracts and retains talent.

A) Build and support small and local businesses

B) Recruit and retain talent

C) Diversify employment base/sectors (i.e. increase access to a variety of jobs)

D) Encourage competitive salaries for jobs within the community

E) Support career development and advancement

19. Goal #3. A nurtured community… where people are engaged and connected to services, resources, and others that support their wellbeing.

A) Create ongoing opportunities for diverse public input in city processes and decisions

B) Improve access, format, and legibility of public documents and resources

C) Celebrate diversity and ensure equity in all programs and services

D) Work with regional partners to promote a range of supportive services (i.e. childcare, health care, social care, etc.) accessible to all people

E) Collaborate with school district to continue to invest in education

20. Goal #4: A green community… where stewarding natural resources and taking care of the environment is considered in key decisions.

A) Explore alternative energy and sustainability initiatives

B) Plan for emergencies (i.e. flood, environmental, pandemic, etc.)

C) Consider best practices for environmental management (i.e. flooding, fires, etc.)

D) Encourage green development practices (i.e. walkable neighborhoods, green infrastructure, stormwater management, etc.)

21 Goal #5. An enhanced network of infrastructure… where it is continually planned, implemented, and maintained to support living, working and investing.

A) Implement multimodal transportation projects (i.e. public transit, roads, bike, pedestrian)

B) Improve traffic flow throughout the community and better coordinate road work projects and construction

C) Create a more walkable City (i.e. improve sidewalks, streetscapes, trails, pathways, etc.)

D) Improve stormwater infrastructure and management (i.e. drainage, levees, etc.)

22. Goal #6: A strong sense of place… where the neighborhoods are safe, walkable, and connected and the emotional attachment to the community is enhanced by new development and redevelopment.

A) Create vibrant and attractive neighborhoods and destinations (i.e. beautification, placemaking, streetscapes, downtown and Aggieville, etc.)

B) Maintain and enhance community assets (parks, trails, community gathering spaces, historic places, etc.)

C) Seek partners to explore recreation facilities and cultural offerings for all ages (i.e. indoor pool, entertainment and attractions, arts spaces, event spaces, etc.)

D) Pursue strategies to improve housing quality and affordability

23. Goal #7: A transparent and fiscally healthy budget… where the operations of the City, including budgeting and decision making, are transparent, accountable, and accessible to the community.

A) Improve transparency regarding decisions, budgets, processes that are accessible to the public

B) Develop and maintain a balanced budget

C) Follow through with initiatives and ensure implementation of strategic plan

D) Explore additional sources of revenue for City operations

E) Establish and fund a capital improvement program to identify and plan for improvements to infrastructure or major City investments

Below is a draft mission statement for the City of Manhattan. A mission is a statement used by an organization to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being.

24. On a scale from 1-5 please rate how strongly you support the following draft mission statement for Manhattan, with 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “full support”

The City of Manhattan’s mission is to put the wellbeing of people at the heart of everything we do.

Through a well-trained, highly-motivated and professional city staff, we move the community forward in a way that is:

open, welcoming, and inclusive of everyone

forward-thinking and innovative (in services, solutions, programming, and opportunities)

transparent, accountable, and fiscally responsible

able to contribute to a high quality of life, amenities and opportunities

protective of our natural resources and the environment

25. Please provide any comments about the draft mission statement. What do you like or don’t like about the mission statement?

26. Were you born in Manhattan?

27. How long have you lived in Manhattan?

28. Are you a college student?

29. Have you been or are you currently affiliated with Fort Riley?

30. Is there anything else on your mind? Please share your other comments and questions here.

Were you born in Manhattan?

How long have you lived in Manhattan?

Why are you participating in the first round of public engagement for CrossroadsMHK?

Are you a college student?

IF YES: Which best describes you as a student?

IF YES: Did you feel welcomed by the City of Manhattan when you first arrived as a student?

IF YES: Please share how the City made you feel welcomed as a student or your ideas on how the City could be more welcoming to students.

IF YES: What was it about the community that attracted you to attend a college in Manhattan?

IF YES: When you leave campus what do you do, where do you go?

IF YES: Upon your graduation, what are the three most important things that would keep you in Manhattan? What would make you want to stay here?

IF YES: How do we get more students involved? Where should we go, what should we do?

Have you been or are you currently affiliated with Fort Riley?

IF YES: What can make Manhattan more attractive for Fort Riley service members, their spouses, and retaining military families?

In one word, what do you love most about living in Manhattan?

What are your best experiences with City government?

What are your experiences with City government that were not as positive as you would like?

What should the mission statement for the City of Manhattan include?

What outcomes do you hope come out of this planning process?

In looking out 10-15 years, what would be included in your vision for the future of the City of Manhattan?

What would you like to see the City government focus on in the next five years?

Is there anything else on your mind? Please share your other comments and questions here.

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