The official results are in from the Fayetteville Forward economic development summit and are now available on the City’s website. For those of you who’d rather not download the full PDF and dig through all the details, we thought we’d pass along some of the basic info in case you’ve been wondering just what the heck was on all those colorful post-it notes and “dream trees”.
For starters, there were 475 participants throughout the week from 334 different stakeholder groups. Citizens of all sorts were on hand including those from small businesses, corporate businesses, non-profits and many other organizations. There were folks from the U of A, FPS, the City Council, the Chamber and the FIBA. There was even a moment when we caught Mayor Jordan and developer John Nock doing a one-on-one interview. In other words, it’s safe to say that a good portion of Fayetteville was representin’.
In this post, we’ll look at the results from Session 1 which included the gathering of citizens’ thoughts on the present-day Fayetteville and their desires for the future. Later today, we’ll explore Session 2 which took these ideas and identified 38 action items needed to turn those dreams into reality.
During Session 1, everyone who participated was asked to answer three questions on colored sticky notes. The questions were:
1. Why did you come to the summit?
2. What do you value most about Fayetteville?
3. What is one change you’d most like to see?
After compiling over 1400 answers, here are the top results:
We Came Because…
31% – Desire to Participate
14% – Love of Fayetteville
11% – Listen/Curious
We Value This Most…
19% – Community and People
17% – Natural Environment
12% – Diversity
The Changes We Most Want…
12% – Economic Development (Growth)
11% – Transportation (Alternative)
9% – Communication/Diversity
The Dream Trees
Participants were grouped together and asked to come up with some themes (or “dreams”) that they’d all like to see become a reality. During the last part of Session 1, these were organized into “trees” through the use of construction paper, glue and magic markers.
After all was said and done there were some common themes identified. All 12 are listed below along with some compelling questions that arise when considering the steps to take in order to turn those dreams into solid plans.
1. Economic Growth: How do we keep and support our existing businesses? What kind of businesses do we want to attract and what incentives are we willing to offer them?
2. Land Use & Green Infrastructure: How do we promote redevelopment over new development? How do we implement the green network mentioned in City Plan 2025?
3. Transportation: How do we pay for public transportation? What are the opportunities lost by not doing something now?
4. Green Economy: How do we influence and attract green business and innovation? How do we compete globally in a green economy?
5. Health & Homeless: How do we finance, plan, and implement health education and health care to improve
our citizen’s health? How can we create quality affordable housing?
6. Education: Does the Fayetteville school system attract families and businesses or is it a deterrent? How do we meet the needs of all children? Are our students acquiring life skills?
7. Creative Economy: Why is promoting creativity important to our economy and community? Why is public, private, and corporate support for the arts important? How can we leverage, support and encourage the cultural arts district?
8. Local Food: How can we support local food producers? How do we encourage sustaining our local agriculture?
9. Citizen Empowerment & Volunteers: How can we involve more citizens in the process? How can we get more citizens to volunteer?
10. Questioning the Assumptions of Growth: Is more development automatically better? How do we keep the high quality of life without stopping growth?
11. Preserving the soul of Fayetteville: What places, activities and events articulate the story of Fayetteville? How do we foster healthy growth while maintaining our cultural identity?
12. Inclusion: How do we identify and include those not typically involved in most policy discussions? How do we provide communication – digital and other – to everyone?
After taking a close look at what we want for Fayetteville, the next step for city staff was to identify a list of action items needed to take the “Dream Trees” and turn them into reality. Later today, we’ll post all 38 items and try our best to dissect exactly what they mean. Stay tuned … if you wanna.