From May – July, over 30 local nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and businesses participated in our virtual focus group sessions to discuss neighborhood needs and priorities. Participants were offered the choice to attend and share their expertise within any of seven focus areas:
- Arts + Culture
- Civic Engagement
- Workforce + Economic Development
During the series, stakeholders were introduced to the project, asked about community assets + challenges, and participated in visioning exercises. Connections were made within each focus area allowing for deep discussion and idea generation.
Notable neighborhood assets identified were local nonprofits, educational institutions, community leaders, diversity, and rich history; while challenges centered on access and awareness of critical resources and services, safety, and cleanliness. Focus group participants shared a strong desire to connect service providers and generate community awareness around the wide array of available resources.
During the visioning exercise, participants were asked to visualize their ideal neighborhood and connect these preferences to the assets + challenges identified in previous discussions. Ideal communities were said to be family friendly, with affordable housing that accommodates all ages, abilities and incomes. Additionally, the neighborhood should feel safe day and night, have wide-sidewalks, slow traffic, tree lined streets, park improvements, and an affordable community center.
Overall, strategies for improvement differed between each group however, they all had a clear and unified vision for the neighborhood’s future. Participants desired a thriving, safe, diverse and walkable neighborhood that has access to health care and healthy foods, educational opportunities, jobs, entertainment, greenspace, and meaningful community engagement opportunities.
The Focus Group Report can be found here.