While the campaign signs are down and early Christmas lights are coming up, I’m still spending considerable time thinking about my own next four years and Mapleton’s next forty years. And, while neither view is without its challenges, I look towards the future with great optimism…but we need your help!
Kudos go to the sitting Council, Mayor Hakes, and our City Staff who supported the investment in the General Plan Update, including the last two years of infrastructure evaluations and strategic planning. The data-driven, community-based planning project will result in strategies to carry us through our anticipated build-out (approximately 2061 at 29,000 citizens) and, because it is externally managed through Landmark, an independent organization, the quality of the outputs will mitigate bias, promote inclusive strategies, and leverage the talents of recognized experts.
As with any data-oriented project, the fact remains that garbage in = garbage out. Objective and validated data will come from pre-existing facts, demographics, census data, county records, city planning best practices, et cetera. However, subjective input regarding preferences and opinions is essential to planning for our future. What do WE want? As much as Landmark is seeking statistically significant samples from Mapleton residents to complete surveys and participate in focus groups, there are key opportunities for all citizens to participate in feedback activities that will supplement statistically valid data and add to the interpretation thereof. However, if participation is minimal or if it is skewed towards a specific population or like-minded group, we encounter the garbage in = garbage out dilemma. It is incumbent upon us all to mitigate that potential. Unfortunately, we’ve started on the wrong foot: the majority of chairs at our initial meeting on November 7 were empty.
Understanding the Process
We’re busy people. Traditionally, the average citizen does not get engaged in city-related activities that don’t affect their backyard or their rights. The empty seats from November 7 suggested to me that we might need to increase understanding about what is happening with the General Plan Update. This update could do exactly those things: affect our backyard and/or our rights. A General Plan Update (and ours includes our parks and recreation strategy as well) may address zoning, infrastructure (e.g., roads and sewers), parks and trails placement, and inform revision to city code.
What happens in this General Plan Update WILL affect you and your household. If you opt-out of the process, you are allowing others’ opinions to shape your life. And, as demonstrated in the graphic I shared post-November 7 meeting (and to the right), we don’t all think the same.
Presently, a survey is being administered as part of the initial data collection. An essential work session will occur at a community workshop in January (date TBD). When you see the announcement, save the date and attend. Help us gather the best data possible so we can build the best Mapleton possible – together. You are an important part of the accuracy and quality of this process.
Let’s pack the Community Center so full that we have to use multiple rooms, unload all the chairs we own, and push the HVAC to its limit.
Sign up at ourmapleton.org to get involved and receive updates on the process.
Opportunities to Engage
In addition to engaging in the General Plan Update, there are many ways to connect to our community. Here are a few ways you and your household may consider getting involved to strengthen our resolve, sustain our small-town culture, and ensure our long-term sustainability.
- Become aware of resources and read them regularly. The City has on its website resources related to planning, code, maps, meeting minutes, and meeting agendas. A monthly newsletter and regular social media posts also add to the conversation. Reading these materials is empowering and will help citizens engage in important conversations. We will continue growing these resources, too.
- Be an ambassador. As you continue building your knowledge and awareness, you are empowered to challenge rumor and squelch negativity in exchange for facts and healthy dialogue. This builds relationships, communities, and solves problems.
- Be a great neighbor. Reach out to your less-techy neighbors to help them feel connected and informed. Sharing meeting minutes, maps, and other developments with interested parties solve a challenge for the City, which desires to reach every citizen.
- Renew your trust in the City. Recent challenges and rumors have created a layer of distrust in pockets of the community. We invite everyone to reach out to the City leadership and staff to resolve concerns and to rededicate ourselves to the neighborly spirit we love. Let’s start by assuming the best out of people and working from that positive perspective.
- Show up. The City hosts meetings, open houses, and community events that help us become educated and increases our community spirit. Commit to coming to just two meetings per year and you’ll feel more connected and empowered. (Having attended every City Council and Planning Commission meeting since March makes me feel like I could’ve earned another degree!)
- “Like” us. Follow the Mapleton City Government Facebook and Instagram pages and participate in the dialogue.
- Model volunteerism. Much of our culture is grounded in volunteerism with the City and neighborhood initiatives – and that’s also where we connect across neighborhoods and generations! Sign up at JustServe.org to discover opportunities for you and your household.