SRF assisted Washington County with their 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update. The County is updated their plan in accordance with the required update mandated by the Metropolitan Council. The SRF team assisted with the development of plan elements and public engagement throughout the plan process. Three engagement phases were laid out from the 18-month planning process: Phase 1 – Discovery, Phase 2 – Plan Review, and Phase 3 – Final Plan. Phase 1 engagement occurred over a four-month process.
The goal of the Phase 1 engagement efforts was to obtain residents’ input on the current state of Washington County and what is needed for the future. The information gathered during this phase was a key element in defining a future vision, identifying goals and policies and laying out an implementation plan. To obtain as much input as possible, eight pop-up events and an online mapping tool were used to engage residents. Through these efforts, nearly 1,000 residents were engaged in the Comprehensive Plan Update.
The pop-up events were held at strategic areas in the County with large volumes of foot traffic. This allowed us to bring the engagement to “meet-people-where-they-are”. Project staff attended various county events including community festivals, chamber events, and food shelf shopping hours. A short five-minute survey was administered verbally to participants. Activities for children and additional information regarding the plan update were also available.
An online engagement tool was also used to gather input during the first phase. This tool allowed people to participate anonymously and from the comfort of their own home. The Washington County 2040 Wiki Map asked residents to identify the location of their favorite place, biggest concern, and best characteristic within the County.
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