“We’ve never done anything like this before,” says Assistant to the City Manager Jessica Roth. “We’re truly committed to encouraging citizen participation at a whole new level through this strategic planning process.”
The creation of a shared, inclusive, exciting strategic plan, a plan that will shape the Suwanee of 2020, will require input from as many citizens as possible. To launch those conversations, a “Visioning Happy Hour” will be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at 3930 Charleston Market Street in Town Center, Suite B1.
Then over the next five weeks, through July 28, citizens can drop in at the community open house on Charleston Market Street to offer input, engage in a variety of creative exercises, and learn more about the 20/20 Vision strategic plan.
“We want this to be an exciting process,” Roth says. “We want to generate widespread participation from the community. By extending the open house over five weeks, there’s no excuse for anyone not to come and participate. We hope that every single community member stops in.”
Residents are encouraged to stop in at the open house at their convenience on one of the four days it will be open each week. After the kick-off on June 23, which is also the date of the monthly Toast @ Town Center event, it will be open, through July 28, from
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and
9-11 a.m. Saturdays.
To further encourage citizens to participate, those who show up for the initial open house on June 23 will receive a coupon good for a 15 percent discount at participating downtown Suwanee businesses. In addition, a drawing for a $20 downtown Suwanee gift certificate will be held that evening and then once each week of the open house.
Philadelphia-based Interface Studio, the City’s consultant-partner through the strategic planning process, has designed several engaging, creative – even quirky – activities to jumpstart the community conversation. Some of the activities will include postcards, photo suggestion booth, a green/sustainability challenge, collaborative map, and a budgeting exercise.
Despite the purposefully built-in fun factor, Interface Principal Scott Page notes that Suwanee’s strategic planning process is more than an exercise or game. “Suwanee’s 20/20 Vision is a community-driven strategic plan for the next decade,” he says in an article in Suwanee’s community newsletter CrossRoads. “It will seek to capture the hopes and dreams of Suwanee’s residents in order to develop specific strategies and action steps that can help the vision become reality.”
A community-based steering committee has been established to help guide the process. In addition, small-group community conversations will be a key component to the planning process and will begin in late summer. Area residents may register to be part of those small-group conversations at www3.suwanee.com.