Monday, October 15, 2012
Sedgwick County voters participated in the first of four focus group meetings that focus on how tax dollars should be spent.
"This was my chance to help be a giver to the community," said Gina Richardson, participant.
Richardson was one of 500 randomly selected individuals, who received a letter in the mail, to participate in the focus groups.
She, along with other participants, will help shape a community survey, focusing on issues like transportation, water and sewer, quality of life, and economic development.
Tonight, the group was tasked to think like city and county leaders when answering questions about transportation infrastructure and economic development.
"It also helps us to understand what the limits they face. Often times there's things that we don't realize. This gives us a chance to say, 'Okay, I understand what we're up against and how we make it better,'" said Richardson.
The Wichita State University Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs is guiding the citizen engagement process to learn more about community values and investment priorities.
"These are really important decisions that are going to be made. The city and county want to be driven by what their citizens say," said Mark Glaser, professor.
Responses from these focus groups will help shape the community survey that will be administered in Jan. 2013 to 25,000 randomly selected registered voters in Wichita and Sedgwick County. The overall results will be part of the Community Investment Plan.
The current Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Comprehensive Plan was last developed in the early 1990’s.
"The comprehensive plan is really important. It guides the growth and development of the city and of the county. It will determine where we will put our resources but also what our zoning will be in new areas and even in existing areas," said Robert Layton, city manager.
If you received one of the 500 invitations, then you can still register for the focus group meetings by calling 316-978-6538.
The following three meetings are not open public forums but observers are allowed.
-Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m., Sedgwick County Zoo's Cargill Learning Center
-Monday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m., Linwood Elementary School cafeteria.
-Monday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m., WSU Hughes Metropolitan Complex
To learn more about the Community Investment Plan, click here.